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London’s Emergency Departments Extraordinarily Busy - Patients facing long waits

(LONDON, Ontario) - London Health Sciences Centre’s (LHSC) Emergency Departments, at both University and Victoria hospitals, are experiencing high levels of patient activity. In addition, there are bed shortages in all LHSC patient care areas.

"Our first priority is the health and well being of our patients and we will continue to maintain high quality patient care under these circumstances. It is also our priority that the most critically ill are seen in a timely manner," says Cliff Nordal, President and CEO, LHSC.

Contributing factors include:

  • the high number of beds being occupied by patients who are classified as Alternate Level of Care (ALC) awaiting placements in Long Term Care facilities;
  • a number of long term care facilities are experiencing outbreaks that reduce their ability to take ALC patients;
  • emergency department visits are 17% higher than this same time last year, with an average increase of 60 more patient visits per day, in total, at the VH and UH Emergency Departments;
  • infectious patients who require special care precautions, impacting the system capability as they cannot be placed with other patients; and,
  • demands throughout the area as many hospitals in the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) area are dealing with similar challenges regarding access, severely limiting the ability to move patients.

"I would like to thank the public, patients and their families for their patience during this busy time," says Nordal. "These circumstances also pose significant challenges for all of our staff and physician members. I extend my sincerest gratitude for their compassionate care of our patients and families, and for their continued diligent hard work and perseverance."

For non-life threatening emergencies, the public is asked to consider the following options:

  • contact your family doctor or a walk-in clinic;
  • go to St. Joseph’s Hospital Urgent Care Clinic Centre for treatment of non life-threatening illnesses and injuries such as scrapes, cuts, sprains, simple fractures or broken bones, earaches, fevers, coughs and colds. The Urgent Care Centre is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week;
  • however, please note that the Urgent Care Centre is also experiencing high patient volumes and longer than normal wait times can be expected;
  • for health advice and general information 24 hours a day, seven days a week contact Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000; and,
  • if you must come into the Emergency Department for treatment be prepared for longer waits and please bring only one additional individual with you if necessary.

If you have a medical emergency phone 911 or go to your nearest Emergency Department.

About London Health Sciences Centre

London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is one of Canada’s largest acute-care teaching hospitals and is dedicated to excellence in patient care, teaching and research. LHSC has pioneered many national and international medical breakthroughs. Located in London, Ontario, LHSC encompasses three sites, South Street Hospital, University Hospital and Victoria Hospital; two family medical centres; and the London Regional Cancer Program. LHSC is the home of the Children’s Hospital and CSTAR (Canadian Surgical Technologies & Advanced Robotics). LHSC is affiliated with The University of Western Ontario. Physicians and staff at LHSC number more than 9,000 and together they provide care for more than 1 million patients last year.

For more information contact:

Rachelle Wood
Corporate Communications and Public Relations
London Health Sciences Centre
519-685-8500, ext. 77642

After-hours assistance:
Call LHSC Switchboard at 519-685-8500 and ask to page the communication consultant on-call