Our Emergency Department (ED) teams work to provide quality care as quickly as possible. The most seriously ill patients are seen first even though they may come into the department after other patients. This is why the triage nurse checks everyone as soon as possible after they arrive.
Several major health services are targeted by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Wait Times Strategy (WTS). The Strategy is designed to increase access and reduce wait times for certain services, including significantly increasing the number of procedures to reduce the backlogs that have developed over the last decade. According to the Ministry, patients can use the Wait Times information reported on the Ministry web site system to make informed choices about where to be referred for quicker service.
About Emergency Department (ED) Wait Times
Emergency Department Wait Times are reported using a system implemented in 128 hospitals across the province.
The information for “time spent in the ED” is the maximum time nine out of ten Ontarians spend in the ED and is measured from the time patients register or initially see a triage nurse (who assesses the level of urgency for treatment), until the time the patient leaves the ED (either to go home or to be admitted to the hospital).
Please note that the ED information on the Ministry’s site is not real-time information and should not be used to assess the time you may spend in the ED. If you believe you need immediate emergency care, please go to your nearest Emergency Department.
Why are some patients seen quicker than others in the ED?
Wait times will vary based on a patient’s condition, and are generally divided into two categories:
Complex conditions – requiring more time for diagnosis, treatment or hospital bed admission
This includes a range of conditions from the most serious such as cardiac arrest, major trauma or a potential threat to life or limb function, to serious conditions that can potentially turn into a serious problem without emergency intervention, such as asthma or moderate trauma.
Minor or uncomplicated conditions – requiring less time for diagnosis, treatment or observation
This includes less serious conditions such as urinary symptoms, mild abdominal pain, a sore throat or chronic health problems.
How is a Wait Time Measured?
Ontario measures wait times from the moment a patient is triaged or registered in the Emergency Department (ED) whichever comes first until a patient leaves the ED, either for admission to a hospital in-patient unit, transferred back to the facility they were referred from, or discharged home.
Why is there a wait time in the Emergency Department?
The Emergency Department (ED) team works to provide quality care as quickly as possible. The most seriously ill patients are seen first even though they may come into the department after other patients. This is why the triage nurse checks everyone as soon as possible after they arrive.