NEWS

ER waits up in Montreal, down in Que.

05/02/2012 07:32 EDT | Updated 07/02/2012 05:12 EDT

A report released by La Presse newspaper Wednesday shows patients in Montreal are waiting longer on emergency room stretchers than last year.

Although the government's target is 12 hours, patients hoping for a bed in a Montreal emergency room are spending on average, close to 21 hours.

The situation is slightly better outside the city. Average wait times in the rest of the province have dropped by 24 minutes, to 17 hours and 12 minutes.

Chairman of the Council for the Protection of Patients, Paul Brunet, said part of the problem is that there are more administrators than health care professionals in the system.

“We don't seem to be able to have alternative solutions, so patients end up at the emergency which is certainly not productive and certainly more costly,” he said.

He said CLSC’s should be open longer and health care institutions should be better managed.

The president of FIQ, a federation that represents 60-thousand nurses, Michelle Boisclair, agreed with Brunet.

“If the right people would be seen by the right professional at the right place, the emergency room would be in a different situation than what we're facing now,” said Boisclair.

She said the situation won't improve unless hospitals open more beds and until the government coordinates health care services in the community.

Dr. Paul Saba, with the Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice, told the CBC that lengthy emergency wait times are costly and dangerous.

“Studies show that the longer a patient waits in the emergency room the greater chances of complications including bed sores,” he said.

Dr Saba said it's up to hospital administrators to make a change.

“They have to insist on getting more funding, getting more services and not be afraid. Administrators are paid bonuses for staying within budget. That's not the way we should be running our hospitals,” he said.

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