CHEO reports ‘gridlock’ as an increase in ER visits results in a long wait

“We simply have more people in need of care now than we have space, beds and people,” the hospital said

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A spate of visits to CHEO’s emergency department over the past six weeks has meant that sixteen patients waited on beds in the emergency room this weekend, “for the first time anyone can remember,” the hospital says.

The result was “a stalemate” with families who did not need immediate care having to wait hours longer than usual, the hospital said via social media on Sunday. CHEO also said it has canceled some proceedings for the coming week and rescheduled others.

“Of course we don’t just do that. It hurts us to do. But that’s the reality. We simply now have more people in need of care than we have space, beds and people,” the hospital tweeted.

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According to the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), the healthcare backlog created by the COVID-19 pandemic has grown to nearly 22 million services, ranging from routine checkups and childhood vaccinations to diagnostic tests and surgeries — an increase of one million services in the past three months only.

CHEO urged parents to assess through a document on its website whether their children’s condition requires a hospital visit and to seek alternatives such as a primary care physician or a walk-in clinic.

But if a trip to the hospital is necessary, “our staff and medical staff will do everything they can to get the first-class, timely care you deserve.”

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