Saskatoon Health Region dealing with system backlog

Saskatoon Health Region urging people to not use emergency departments at city hospitals unless it truly is an emergency. File / Global News

SASKATOON – The Saskatoon Health Region (SHR) is asking people to be mindful of other patients when going to city hospitals. Officials say, in some cases, it’s taking patients two days to be admitted because non-emergency cases continue to backlog the region’s emergency departments.

SHR announced Monday afternoon it is seeing an increase in emergency room visits compared to last year. All three hospitals are experiencing longer waits for those patients seen in emergency, admitted for hospital care and waiting for a bed.

READ MORE: Saskatoon Health Region sounds alarm over record demand for care

“This morning when we did our bed rounds, some of the patients were waiting up to 48 hours for their admission up to the units, which creates a backlog for those patients who are just waiting to see minor emergency-type things,” said Corey Miller, SHR integrated health services vice president.

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People are being urged to not use emergency departments at hospitals unless it is dire.

“We’re seeking the support of the community and people who are looking for health care to be mindful of our emergency departments and to seek care, if they do not require emergency care, to seek that care in the community in minor emergencies and in their primary health care physician’s office,” said Miller.

SHR is reminding the public those arriving at emergency will be seen according to the severity of their illness, not chronologically.

Emergency medical conditions include:

  • Sudden chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Large cuts or wounds
  • Broken limbs
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • ​Sudden and severe headache

“We have an accumulation of system backlog and some of that is because of the time of year that we’re in,” said Miller.

“We are in an influenza outbreak, which was declared earlier in December, which certainly impacts the system as a whole, so it isn’t necessarily an emergency issue but emergency tends to be where that backlog is created.”

The flu shot is still available in the region.

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SHR also says staffing is currently a challenge with employees being on holidays.

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Anyone with non-emergency health questions or concerns can call HealthLine at 1-877-800-0002. A list of minor emergency and walk-in clinics in Saskatoon is available here.

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