02/14/2014 10:36 EST | Updated 04/16/2014 05:59 EDT

National study shows patients cool heels the longest in Manitoba emergency rooms

WINNIPEG - A national study shows Manitobans face some of the longest hospital emergency room waits in the country.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information says that between April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013, Manitobans spent an average of 4.7 hours in the ER compared to a national average of 3.1 hours.

The study also says people admitted to hospitals in Manitoba after going to an ER stayed even longer — 12 hours compared to nine nationally.

The figures were compiled from a database of more than 10 million emergency department visits in participating hospitals in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Yukon.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority says the time has increased because of people who wait in an ER for more than 24 hours for a bed to open up, or for special diagnostic tests.

The authority says it's working to divert patients who don’t need treatment at an ER to QuickCare or walk-in clinics. (CJOB, The Canadian Press)