Emergency Room Waiting Time: A Web Tool to Help You

The webpage now informs Quebecers about a set of criteria for assessing occupancy and waiting times in emergency rooms at Quebec hospitals. What is the best way to refer you or look for other options for getting help.

The Québec government-operated page allows patients to see, for each facility, the number of people in the emergency room, the number of people waiting to see a doctor, the average length of stay in the waiting room, and stretcher occupancy.

For example, as of this writing, the Health Index page indicates that a Montreal resident in need would be better off going to the emergency room at La Salle Hospital (wait 4 hours 30 minutes) rather than Lakeshore General Hospital (11 hours). wait).

The data classified by region is updated every hour, except for the average length of stay, which is updated daily. The information tool is being tested and the accuracy of the data will improve over time, according to a press release from the office of Health Minister Christian Dube.

Interesting tool

Prior to the launch of this web page, only certain data, such as average length of stay or stretcher fill rate, was available to the public, which did not take into account traffic in the waiting room.

“In the past, many people only relied on stretcher capacity,” says Judy Morris, an emergency physician at the Sacré-Coeur de Montreal Hospital and president of the Association of Emergency Physicians of Quebec (AMUQ). Sometimes they thought that they would not wait long, but in the end it turned out that they had to wait 10 hours! »

The ER doctor finds this new tool interesting, but she hopes it won’t encourage people to go to the emergency room if they don’t need them. “We wouldn’t want people to say to themselves: there are only two hours left, I’m going. Because the situation remains unstable.

When to contact the emergency room?

In addition, in order to improve the overall situation in emergencies, the tool offers information on the reasons for contacting without further delay. A person should go to the emergency room if, for example, they have persistent fever, dizziness with headache, blurred vision, difficulty walking and talking, chest pain, urge and unusual drinking even at night, or difficulty breathing that persists.

Persistent coughing for more than two weeks, sudden and unreasonable weight loss, and blood in the stool are also reasons to go to the emergency room quickly.

On the other hand, influenza, colds or gastroenteritis, which often occur during the cold season, are usually treated very well at home.

“Occupancy and waiting times in the emergency room would be significantly reduced if the symptoms that occur were treated more reasonably,” the government website states.


The newly launched website also lists options other than hospital emergency care. A person can go to a clinic in the neighborhood, many of which have free time slots, avoiding long hours of waiting.

The Local Community Service Center (CLSC) is also an option for minor health issues and emergencies. Patients may include stitches and bandages, as well as treatment for sprains or deformities.

Quebecers can also call Info-Santé 811 to speak with a healthcare professional. “Recently, there have been several recruits on 811 that will allow referrals to GAPs and outpatient clinics. The 811 improvement will have a significant impact,” says Judy Morris.

Finally, people can also go to the pharmacy: some now offer nursing services several days a week, and pharmacists have more freedom to write certain prescriptions.

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