Overloaded Emergencies Doctors are concerned about Minister Dubes recommendations

Overloaded Emergencies | Doctors are concerned about Minister Dubé’s recommendations –

(Toronto) The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians is “concerned” by comments made just before Christmas by Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé, who suggested that unnecessary visits to emergency rooms had contributed significantly to overcrowding.

Posted at 1:15 p.m


Nicole Ireland The Canadian Press

However, people should not hesitate to go to the emergency room if they believe they need emergency medical care, a spokesman for the association said in an interview with The Canadian Press on Wednesday.

On December 19, Minister Dubé told reporters in Montreal that “a large proportion of people who go to the emergency room don't have an urgent problem – I'm not saying they don't worry, but they don't have an urgent problem.” – and who shouldn't go to the emergency room.

Minister Dubé urged these people to instead use other available options, such as family medicine clinics or specialized nurses, but also pharmacists who can provide professional advice.

The minister made this statement a few days after receiving a letter from the Regroupement des chefs d'urgence du Québec, in which he lamented a situation that had “dramatically deteriorated” and had gotten “out of control.” The Regroupement denounced the government's “inertia” while “the crisis is getting worse.”

On Dec. 30, the Ministry of Health issued a press release urging Quebecers to “use options other than emergency to address non-urgent health needs.”

The number of patients in emergency departments is still high during the peak of respiratory infection season, but the overload is largely due to systemic problems that have been reported for years, Dr. Michael Herman, an emergency doctor at Queensway Hospital, on Wednesday. Carleton of Ottawa, who spoke on behalf of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians.

“The problems associated with congestion are actually more related to the flow of traffic in the hospital than to the number of patients coming to the emergency room,” argued Dr. Herman. When hospitalized patients wait 24, 48, sometimes 72 hours to get a bed on the floor, it takes up space in the emergency room that cannot be used to treat the next patient. »

If people had “quick access” to a GP, it could be a good option for those who don’t have serious symptoms, the emergency doctor admitted. But you shouldn't hesitate to go to the emergency room “if you fear something worse,” he emphasized. “It is up to the patient to determine their (own) urgency. »

However, government messages urging people not to go to emergency rooms unless it is “necessary” could deter them from seeking the care they need, Dr. Herman. “It's the patient who is concerned about their symptoms and well-being, so they come to the emergency room for evaluation. “It's our job, it's our role. »

Last Friday, due to high traffic, New Brunswick's Vitalité Health Network had to ask people to avoid emergency rooms at hospitals in Caraquet and Campbellton unless they needed “urgent and critical care.” And on Wednesday, Réseau Vitalité again called on the people of Madawaska to limit visits to Edmundston Hospital.

In addition, the emergency room at the Stella Maris de Kent Hospital in Sainte-Anne-de-Kent was closed at night during the holiday season due to a shortage of nurses.

Emergency physicians met with health ministers from across Canada last fall to discuss the problems hospitals and emergency rooms continually struggle with.

“The challenges facing Canadian emergency departments, such as overcrowding, long wait times and limited resources, have existed for far too long,” said Michael Howlett, president of the Canadian Association of Physicians. Emergency, in a press release issued Oct. 12.

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