New record set for average wait times to be admitted to an Ontario hospital
Chris Fox, CTV News Toronto
Published Thursday, September 5, 2019 3:31PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 5, 2019 7:01PM EDT
The average wait time to be admitted to an Ontario hospital from the emergency room surpassed 16 hours in June, setting a new record in the process.
According to data from Health Quality Ontario, patients spent an average of 16.3 hours in emergency rooms before being admitted to hospital in June, which was up from an average of 14.4 hours in June, 2018.
The data also revealed that only one in three patients (34 per cent) were admitted to hospital from the emergency room in the target time of eight hours or less.
“I am concerned about it,” Minister of Health Christine Elliot told CP24 on Thursday afternoon. “We promised the people of Ontario during the last election campaign that we would get rid of hallway healthcare and we are working on that but I think we also have to remember that this isn’t just a problem that sprung up yesterday. This has been building for years and years and years.”
The data found that patients who were not ultimately admitted to hospital were less likely to deal with long waits.
The average emergency room stay for low urgency patients not admitted to hospital was 2.6 hours while the average stay for high urgency patients not admitted to hospital was four hours.
The average time to have a first assessment by a doctor, meanwhile, was 1.6 hours.
Speaking with CP24, Elliot said that her government remains committed to reducing wait times but will need time to turn things around.
She refused to offer a timeline for doing so, despite a promise from Premier Doug Ford in July that the crisis will be brought to an end within a year.
“I understand that and I would like to do it within a year too but I think we have to understand that there is no one simple solution to this problem. It requires a lot of different things to happen,” she said. “One is to build more long term bed capacity so people who are already in hospitals will have a place to go to create that flow in hospitals. We also need to put more into community resources especially for mental health and addiction so people don’t end up in emergency departments in a crisis and we want to make sure we deal with chronic disease management.”