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A&E Waits and Patient Safety

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November 10, 2017

While wait time targets are an important component of system accountability, the issue of the effect of prolonged waits on patient safety is of even greater concern. Internationally, it is well-documented that a crowded emergency department is a dangerous one. Those who wait for prolonged periods on stretchers suffer a greater burden of delayed definitive… Read More ›

Hospital Beds are needed to address ER crowding

We read with great interest the opinion piece by Andre Picard with respect to his proposed solutions of chronic hospital crowding. He is, of course, quite right.  Fundamental systemic change is required if we are to get ourselves out of the quagmire of the crowded hospital and the consequent dysfunctional emergency department.  Yes we need… Read More ›

UK Proposal to Ban Walk-In Patients from the A&E

Banning walk-in patients from attending the emergency department without a prior referral is a health policy based on mythology, not on science. Crowding in the emergency department is a function of a crowded hospital. It rarely occurs when hospital bed occupancy rates are 85% but is a given at 95%. With a crowded hospital, there… Read More ›

Staffing Shortage in Oliver ER

It is a positive sign that the BC Health Minister has taken an interest in the recurrent staffing shortages experienced at The Oliver emergency department. This is not unique to British Columbia. Other provinces have experienced such difficulties, particularly in rural areas. Unless this is addressed in a systematic, national approach, there will be more… Read More ›

New Beds for Ontario

Emergency physicians welcome the decision made by the Ontario government to improve both access to hospital beds and home care. This is not strictly an issue of winter flu season or winter “surge”. Emergency departments are crowded on a daily basis but certainly an over-taxed system is put to a severe test during the winter… Read More ›

Prolonged ER Waits in Red Deer

We read with great interest your recent article on perceived prolonged waits for emergency care in Red Deer. The suggestion that an eight hour wait for care was, in a civilized society, even remotely reasonable was totally unacceptable. Furthermore, there is, in our view, a very real concern that patients faced with that electronic notice… Read More ›

The Cobourg Shooting and Violence in the ER

The article on the inadequate response to workplace violence, coupled with the report of the shooting in the Cobourg ER resonated with us. Violence in the emergency department is of increasing concern to our association. As many as 75% of emergency department personnel experience some form of violence in the workplace in any given year… Read More ›

ER crowding in Quebec

The Quebec Health Minister recently announced a funding increase of $100 million dollars to address hospital bed capacity issues in the provinces hospitals.  This was reported in the Montreal Gazette. The Gazette has an annoying practice of not publishing letters to the editor on-line so unless one is a Montrealer on the island, one never knows… Read More ›

ER Crowding and the Spin Doctors

Kelly Grant’s superb Globe and Mail article on ER crowding clearly made the connection between hospital overcrowding leading to dangerous backlogs in the ER.   When hospitals operate at a comfortable 85% bed occupancy rate, crowding doesn’t exist but is a given when occupancy rates exceed 95%.   Most city hospitals in Ontario now function at… Read More ›

Since when does a bigger ER mean a shorter wait time?

Propagating the myth that ER crowding is a result of overutilization of the department by patients with non-urgent illness, a common governmental refrain is “we will build a bigger ER and patients will have less time to wait”.  This is of course complete nonsense.  ER crowding is a reflection of hospital crowding, not an onslaught… Read More ›