Niagara Health creates online calculators for wait times in five separate emergency departments


Published October 14, 2022 at 10:34 am

Probably the largest concern about visiting a hospital emergency department over the past two years is the wait time.

Will it take medical staff an hour to see you? Four hours? Eight hours?

Niagara Health is trying to take away that guesswork with their online “stopwatches” that show the wait time in the five separate emergency departments at the hospitals in St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Welland, Fort Erie and Port Colborne.

Simply call up “Niagara Health” on your phone and among the options on the main page is the current wait times for Niagara Health’s Emergency Departments and Urgent Care Centres.

“Given the heightened concerns with the transmissibility of COVID-19 and the pressures on our Emergency Departments, we ask that you consider your healthcare options before visiting the hospital for non-emergency concerns,” says the site.

It shows patients not only the wait time but also how many people are currently waiting in the ED, as well as how many are being treated at that exact moment.

The site specifies that “the wait times here represent the current average time between being assessed by a triage nurse and seeing a doctor or nurse practitioner.”

It only notes, “Patients are seen on a priority-basis, not on a first-come, first-served basis. This ensures the sickest patients get the care they need first, whether they arrive on their own or via ambulance, and even though they may arrive after other patients.”

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