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Ontario hospital warns 'much longer' than expected emergency department wait times


An Ontario hospital is warning patients to anticipate “much longer” than expected wait times due to “rapidly changing demands” in their emergency department.

“Due to rapidly changing demands in our Emergency Departments at Markham Stouffville Hospital and Uxbridge Hospital, individuals seeking care may experience much longer than expected wait times,” Markham Stouffville Hospital said in a statement released Thursday night.

Dr. Andrew Arcand, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Markham Stouffville Hospital, explained that their alert was rooted in three core issues: a sudden surge of patients, a lack of beds and a shortage of staff.

Arcand said an “ incredible flow of patients” entered the emergency department during the overnight period between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. The significant influx led to a scavenge for beds, which led to some to patients residing in hallways.

That surge also led the hospital to release a staff callout for “all hands on deck.”

“Our current state since June has been really difficult and really challenging,” he said.

While the hospital is still encouraging people who need “serious medical attention” to visit their nearest emergency department, they are asking individuals with conditions not considered an emergency to seek alternative options.

“I do think that if you have a new symptom that you are worried about or that’s severe…we will not judge you, we will always see you,” Arcand said.

However, he suggested visiting urgent care walk-in clinics, virtual assessments or a family doctor’s office, for those who have.

Ontario Health data shows on average patients admitted to Markham Stouffville Hospital spent almost 14 hours in the emergency department, with only a third admitted within the province’s target time of eight hours.

Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones said that almost 90 per cent of individuals who walk into an emergency department have their condition dealt with within eight hours, which she described as an “acceptable amount of time” in an interview on CP24 on Aug 2.

As of Friday morning, Markham Stouffville Hospital’s emergency wait time after triage indicated that a patient is expected to wait an hour and a half to see a doctor or nurse practitioner. At that time, 18 patients were waiting in their emergency department, 56 had been triaged and 38 were being treated. Top Stories

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