Winnipeg emergency room wait times will keep climbing, says WRHA

Click to play video 'ER wait times  spiking in Winnipeg' ER wait times spiking in Winnipeg
WATCH: The WRHA says seasonal illnesses are to blame for an increase in wait times at Winnipeg emergency departments. – Mar 1, 2019

If you ended up in a hospital waiting room at the beginning of 2019, chances are you weren’t sitting there alone.

Emergency room wait times increased in all but two hospitals in Winnipeg, according to the WRHA.

READ MORE: Manitoba ER wait times most improved in Canada, but still one of the worst

In January, the average wait times for all hospitals across the city was 1.78 hours, up from 1.75 hours in December.

Health Sciences Centre saw the biggest jump from 1.62 to 2.07 hours.

The WRHA’s President and CEO Real Cloutier says he expects February’s numbers to be even worse.

“The February numbers are going to be high, they’ll be higher than January,” says Cloutier.

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63 over-capacity beds are currently in use, compared to more than 80 beds being used in mid February.

Following flu season, more cases of bronchitis, pneumonia and the common cold are clogging up emergency rooms.

“What seems to persevere this year are all the other respiratory illnesses that we are seeing in our system in the hospitals and in the community, we’re still in a high status around those respiratory illnesses.”

READ MORE: Lower wait times among highlights for WRHA a year after ER closures

The two healthcare centres where wait times did not increase were HSC’s Children’s Hospital ER and Victoria Urgent Care Centre.

Wait times actually went down at both, with Children’s showing the most improvement.

Not only were waiting times at Children’s ER down from December, they were below those shown for January of 2018.

The Canadian average emergency room wait time is 1.2 hours.

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The WRHA hopes Winnipeg hospitals will hit that mark in the spring of 2021.

See the full WRHA report here.

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Overtime hours increase in Grace Hospital’s critical care unit – Dec 21, 2018