Waits of 20 hours or more: Canadian Medical Association reports emergency rooms are overflowing

The Canadian Medical Association is calling on provinces and territories to rebuild the health-care system to provide more access amid reports of overflowing emergency rooms across the country.


In a statement on ThursdayThe organization said that both patients and healthcare professionals are suffering from the current situation and that changes need to be made to overhaul the entire system.

“Despite the tireless efforts of doctors, nurses and other health care providers, testimonies from across the country illustrate that patients in some jurisdictions are waiting up to 20 hours or more for care,” wrote CMA President Kathleen Ross. , in the statement.

“Staffing shortages and hospital overcrowding, combined with poor access to high-quality team-based primary care, are leaving hospital emergency departments woefully under-resourced for the onslaught of influenza, COVID -19 or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) at this time of year.”

Many hospitals are currently facing an influx of patients. BC reached a record on Wednesday for its hospital population, with more than 10,000 patients.

The CMA specified team-based primary care as a potential focus for reform, suggesting that parliamentarians raise this issue during the winter session.

Team primary care is a strategy that allows healthcare professionals to work together in an interdisciplinary team, allowing them to focus on their specialties and refer patients to another expert on the team quickly based on their medical needs. According to the CMA, it exists in some places in Canada under different models and names, but has not been widely implemented.

“No one wants to spend 20 hours waiting for the care they or their loved ones need,” the statement read.

“The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) believes it is time to transform and rebuild the health care system, including investing initially in team-based primary care.”

This is far from a new call: Health care experts have been sounding the alarm about the need to plug the gaping holes in the health care system for years. The COVID-19 pandemic caused enormous strain on the healthcare system, leaving it overstretched and understaffed.

But despite calls for change, the situation has continued to worsen. Currently, one-fifth of Canadians do not have access to a family doctor, meaning they cannot access timely care for small problems or receive quality care for chronic problems.

The CMA statement highlighted that the lack of primary care options is putting more pressure on emergency rooms, which are often treated as an alternative to primary care or walk-in clinics, rather than being reserved for emergencies.

“Without concerted collaboration and focus, we will continue to endure endless cycles of deterioration of our health systems and the people who work in them,” Ross wrote.

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