Parents and children face long waits to see a doctor in the emergency department at CHEO again this weekend, as the hospital continues to deal with “unprecedented pressures” with patient volumes and staffing challenges.
As of 12 p.m. Saturday, CHEO was reporting the longest wait time to see a physician in the ER was just over eight hours. There were 28 patients waiting to see a physician.
On Friday, a total of 216 children were seen by doctors and nurses in the emergency department, which is built to accommodate 150 patients a day.
“Please come in if your child needs urgent medical attention. The sickest patients are always treated first and you may not be seen in the order of arrival,” CHEO says on its website
“When the emergency department is busy, patients with less urgent needs may have much longer wait times.”
A CHEO spokesperson tells CTV News Ottawa on Saturday that the hospital continues to manage high patient volumes and staffing challenges, which is creating long wait times in the emergency department.
On Oct. 7, CHEO announced it was “throwing everything we have at delivering the safest care and the best possible experiences” for patients and their families, including hiring new staff.
The steps included:
- Adding more than a dozen positions in the Emergency Department, including pre-triage rapid assessments and physician assistants
- Introduce new online tools so families can better navigate their care and access it more easily
- Improve the wait time modelling on its website so people can better know what to expect before visiting CHEO
CHEO is also working to free-up medical professionals with critical care training to return to patient-facing needs and expanding staff at the Kids Come First and East Ottawa Kids clinics.
April to September was the busiest six-month period ever for the CHEO emergency department.
All hospitals in Ottawa have been warning patients to expect longer-than-usual wait times in the emergency departments this fall due to patient volumes and staffing shortages.
The Montfort Hospital was reporting wait times of up to 19 hours on Saturday.
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