Many patients are waiting for double digit hours in emergency rooms at Montreal hospitals.
Fourteen hospitals are currently operating at more than 100 per cent capacity, including the Lakeshore General Hospital which is at 181 per cent.
Meanwhile, dozens of patients are waiting on stretchers for more than 48 hours in the ERs before being admitted.
The high levels are recorded daily by Montreal Health Department.
Gary Robidoux waited 13 hours in the ER at the Royal Victoria Hospital on April 25th.
“It’s really horrendous. It’s a joke really. People don’t want to come here who are really sick because of that,” Robidoux told Global News.
In an email to Global News, McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Spokesperson Annie-Claire Fournier writes, “Our emergency departments have been very busy in recent weeks, with increased patient volumes driving high occupancy rates and patients waiting to be hospitalized, this is compounded by staffing shortages.
“It’s a difficult situation but as always, we are committed to providing quality care to all our patients.”
An ER physician told Global News he fears there is no quick fix to deal with the overcrowding problem.
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“I’m a little pessimistic about how the future is going now,” said Dr. Bernard Mathieu, an ER physician at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital.
In an email to Global News, a spokesperson for Health Minister Christian Dubé says part of the issue is the aging population and lack of space in long-term care facilities, requiring an aging population to take up beds in hospitals instead.
“The lack of staff in CHSLDs and the aging of the population in recent years has increased the pressure on emergency rooms,” Marjaurie Côté-Boileau wrote.
Some efforts are being made to redirect patients away from hospitals in non-life-threatening conditions.