01/13/2012 10:41 EST | Updated 03/14/2012 05:12 EDT

Staff scramble to handle mounting patient numbers at Regina's hospitals

REGINA - Staff are holding emergency meetings on how to cope with the growing patient load at hospitals in the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region.

Dr. Joy Dobson, senior medical officer for the region, says hospitals have been operating above 100 per cent capacity and have been in a severe state for the last few weeks.

Dobson says patients in emergency wards have been waiting for hours for treatment and many of them are being handled by staff in the hallways.

The flu season, a rising population and a lack of medical clinics in the region are cited as some of the factors behind the problem.

The Saskatoon Health Region said this week that busy times at its three hospitals have led to a bed shortage for acute-care patients.

It said that the average stay at one of its hospitals — St. Paul's — has gone up almost 10 per cent over last year. (CJME)