Cornwall hospital ER wait times rising

The Cornwall Community Hospital on McConnell Avenue. (Newswatch Group/File)

CORNWALL – The Cornwall Community Hospital says emergency room visits reached a five year high over the last two months.

That’s resulting in longer ER visits at the McConnell Avenue site and frustration from patients which is sometimes leading to people lashing out at employees.

“We recognize that emergency department wait times are long, however we expect that our hard-working staff and physicians are treated with respect,” CEO Jeanette Despatie said in a statement Friday. “The hospital is doing everything we can and using innovative ways to minimize the impact.”

The hospital blames the situation on staff shortages and bed shortages.

Cornwall Community Hospital average wait times have been steadily climbing since March.

The latest provincial data from May 2022 shows the average wait time from entering the ER until being seen by a doctor is 2.3 hours – above the Ontario average of 2.1.

For treatment, low-urgency patients are spending an average of 3.7 hours in the hospital with 65 per cent finishing their visit under the benchmark of four hours. Those are cases like sore throats and vomiting.

For high-urgency patients, like heart attack or overdose, the average out-patient assessment and treatment time is 4.9 hours with 87 per cent of patients released before the Health Quality Ontario target time of eight hours.