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Longer wait times at local emergency departments

Hospital emergency rooms typically become even busier during the holiday season and this year is no exception.

Susan Rowe, senior director at Quinte Health Care says hospitals in Belleville, Picton and Trenton are experiencing a 30 per cent increase in the number of patients using the emergency rooms, with higher numbers of people also being admitted to the hospitals.

“We do ask people with non-urgent illnesses to consider other options before coming to the emergency room,” said Dr. Dick Zoutman, QHC Chief of Staff. “If you do come into the ER, please be patient and recognize that serious illnesses and injuries are treated first, which also adds to some people’s wait time.”

In the County, a special walk-in clinic with visiting specialists has been set up for the holidays. It will continue running today until 5 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 30 and Monday, Jan. 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

When to Visit the Emergency Room
Go to your nearest emergency room if you or a family member experiences any of the following:
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath when doing very little or resting
Severe stomach pain
Continuous vomiting or severe diarrhea with signs of dehydration such as dry tongue, dry mouth, decreased peeing (no urine for the past 6-8 hours), or very yellow/orange, dark urine
Stiff neck and sensitivity to light
Seizures or convulsions
Confusion or disorientation
Chest pain or tightness in the chest
A broken bone or a wound that may need stitches
Sudden, severe headaches, vision problems, sudden weakness, numbness and/or tingling sensations, trouble speaking, dizziness
Your infant, under three months of age, has a fever over 38.5C or 101F
Your child has a fever and it is difficult to wake her/him

Being Prepared for an Emergency Department Visit
Come to the Emergency Department only when necessary
If you have a family physician, call him/her first to determine whether you can be seen in the physician’s office
If there is a walk-in clinic in the area, go there for your less urgent illness or injury
You can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 to speak to a Registered Nurse
More information on health care options is available at:

If you must come to the Emergency Department, come prepared
Bring reading material or other distractions to pass the time
Don’t bring more than one family member/support person with you unless necessary (it adds to the congestion in the waiting room)
Clean your hands often to prevent the spread of infectious diseases

Be patient
The staff and physicians of the Emergency Department are working hard under often stressful conditions
The most serious injuries and illnesses are always dealt with first, and staff cannot predict when a very serious case will come through the doors. Therefore, people who arrive after you may be seen first.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Emily says:

    The whole system is not reactive. I believe the workers try their very best but are constrained by resources. It is a quandary. Here we have free health care which is a falicy since we pay dearly through taxes for it. In the US you receive much quicker care but pay up front. Now reported we have a Doctor radiologist that supposedly worked 322 days last year and billed OHIP $7,000,000! Beauacracy is a great thing. It can create, recreate and find ways to expand and intervene in our lives. It is almost out of control and “No Government ” that I have seen can fix it.

  2. Marnie says:

    Rhonda, maybe your friend should have called an ambulance. Sad that he waited for so long and was not seen. Hope he finally received attention.

  3. Tracey says:

    My husband and I have had nothing but professional care from PEC region medical services. Total appreciation and respect. Talk to Hoskins… There lies the root of any problems we are having in Ontario.

  4. Rhonda Johnston says:

    On Dec 22, 2016 @ 4:30pm…my friend attended the BGH Emergency Dept, as e could not walk or stand on his left leg. He was in severe pain & discomfort, He does not have a Family Dr. so he had no alternative but to go to the BGH Emergency Dept. He waited until 11:45pm and never saw a Dr. the whole time…neither did any of the other people waiting at the Emergency Dept. The waiting room filled up and still no Dr’s were in site. The Triage Nurse explained that they had Ambulances arriving which took precedence over waiting room patients. The strange thing is there were no Ambulances arrive at any time during my friend’s waiting time from 4:45pm till he gave up & went home at 11:45pm. The Triage nurse told another lady who was waiting with a crying child *since 2:30pm on Dec 22)to either stay until the next morning when a Dr could see her child or she too could leave & come back in the morning.
    My question is Where are the Emergency Room Dr’s? I don’t believe there were ever any Dr.s available. This is not acceptable…where is our taxpayer’s dollars going to?? if we can’t even have decent medical aid available for sick & injured people?

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