1.12.04 - “[T]he Ontario PC government’s commitment to reduce emergency room wait times”
The Polimeter team recognizes that the COVID-19 crisis has put unprecedented strain on the health system. Nevertheless, this promise is considered broken. In June 2018, well before the onset of the pandemic, the average patient spent 14.4 hours waiting in the hospital. In June 2019, wait times hit a record high of 16.3 hours. Average wait times also remained above 14.4 hours during all of 2019 and early 2020. In April 2020 average wait times decreased to 9 hours due to the COVID-19 lockdown, however rose again to 13.5 hours in July 2020 and 15.1 hours in December 2020. As of May 2022, wait times continue to be lengthy in some hospitals as they continue to manage staff shortages and higher volumes of patients.
“COVID-19 is still packing a punch and visits to emergency departments are taking longer than usual, warn Ottawa hospitals. In a statement released Wednesday, The Ottawa Hospital said it is experiencing ‘increased pressures’ on its emergency departments and ambulance offload processes. COVID outbreaks and staffing shortages due to COVID or exposure to the virus were among the reasons. The shortage of nurses was already a crisis situation and this is exacerbating the issue, said Rachel Muir, president of the Ontario Nurses Association bargaining unit at The Ottawa Hospital. ‘It’s worse than they make it sound. I’m glad they’re making these statements because wait times have been long for a long time. We’re seeing a lot of frustration from patients and their family members,’ said Muir.”
“Assuming doctors worked 120 per cent more hours than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic, which Dr. Adam Kassam, president of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) called ‘unsustainable,’ the estimated time to catch up on the most common medical procedures would still be up to two years.”
[Ed. Note: See “Search Results” section, and select “Admitted patients” and “Average time” before clicking “Generate graph”. See generated graph: “Average length of stay in emergency for patients admitted to hospital, in Ontario, 201912 to 202012”: Average wait times peaked in Jan. 2020 at 18.3 hours, before dropping down to 9.0 hours in April 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, and then rising again to 14.2 hours in August 2020 and 15.1 hours in December 2020.]
“Average wait times at Ontario hospitals set a new June record this summer, according to recent data from Health Quality Ontario. In June 2019, patients spent an average of 16.3 hours waiting in emergency rooms, up from an average of 14.4 hours last June.”