The amount of time patients are spending in hospital emergency rooms has dropped overall, but a new report finds those living in urban areas are still having to wait longer to see a doctor.
Under Pressure: Emergency Department Performance In Ontario, a report from Health Quality Ontario, finds over the last seven years, there’s been a 10% drop in the maximum amount of time nine out of ten patients spent in the ER. (7.8 hours down from 8.7 hours)
As well, there was a more than 16% drop in the maximum amount of time 90% of patients waited in the emergency department to see a doctor, from 3.6 hours to 3 hours.
However the report also found urban residents spent more time in the ER, and more time waiting to see the doctor, than those living in rural areas.
“Patients may spend hours and sometimes even days lying on stretchers in emergency examination rooms or hallways. Even with the demographic challenges the province is facing, the concerted efforts made by government, hospitals and others to improve the performance of Ontario’s emergency departments have brought many positive changes but it’s clear that much work still needs to be done to make emergency departments work better for all patients.” – Dr. Joshua Tepper, President and CEO of Health Quality Ontario.
As well, the report found many patients who required a hospital stay, had to wait in the ER for an available bed in an inpatient ward. This can be attributed, in part, to many patients who remain in a hospital setting when they should be moved to a more specialized setting, such as long term care.
Some other findings of the report:
The majority of people in Ontario appear to be satisfied with the emergency care they receive. In a 2014/15 patient experience survey:
•72.6% of respondents reported receiving excellent, very good or good care, with the other 27.4% rating their care as fair or poor
Some admitted patients spend a long time in emergency. In 2014/15:
•The maximum amount of time nine out of 10 admitted patients spent in emergency – was 29.4 hours
Some patients who are more seriously ill wait longer to see a doctor than less seriously ill patients. In 2014/15:
•The maximum amount of time nine out 10 patients waited in emergency to see a doctor was 3.1 hours for admitted patients and 3.2 hours for high-acuity discharged patients, compared to 2.7 hours for low-acuity discharged patients
To access the full report, click here.