Hospitals, paramedics in Durham under pressure from ‘critical’ staff shortage

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Code Zero: Rising number of Rural Emergency Room Closures
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Hospitals in Durham Region are experiencing “critical staffing shortages” and busy emergency departments.

A joint statement issued by the Region of Durham Paramedic Service and Lakeridge Health, which runs hospitals in the area, implored anyone with non-life-threatening issues to avoid the emergency room or calling an ambulance.

The statement said that staff shortages and high patient volumes are “impacting overall wait times for less acute patients and increasing the time that RDPS is able to offload ambulances at Lakeridge Health hospitals.”

In a medical emergency that is life-threatening, call 911 or go to an emergency department immediately. Those situations include having trouble breathing, being unconscious or chest pain.

Read more: Ontario hospitals continue to deal with significant staffing shortages

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“All people who arrive at a Lakeridge Health Emergency Department who are experiencing life-threatening conditions and/or are in a situation that poses a sudden threat to life are cared for immediately,” the statement said.

Those who need less urgent care are being asked to go to a walk-in clinic, a primary care provider or to access a virtual appointment.

“Thank you for your patience as the Lakeridge Health team works as efficiently and safely as possible to see all patients waiting in the Emergency Departments,” the joint statement said.

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