"If you need emergency medical care in Quebec, you'd better learn to be patient," says economist Emmanuelle B. Faubert. Her new study for the Montreal Economic Institute on wait times in Quebec ERs reveals a worsening situation across the province.
According to the analysis, the median duration of stay for a patient in an emergency room was five hours and 11 minutes in 2022.
"The fact that an ER visit now takes over five hours shows that our system no longer works," Faubert writes.
She notes that the median length of wait times in ERs has been trending upward in recent years, except for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. In 2018, the median duration of stay for patients in Quebec ERs was four hours and 31 minutes.
The average length of stay was nine hours and one minute in 2022, an increase of one hour and 39 minutes over the previous four years.
"The rise in the median and average length of stay means a typical ER visit is a bit longer, and you’re more likely to be faced with exceptionally long wait times," she continues.
Even longer ER waits were reported in the Laurentides (seven hours and 16 minutes), Lanaudière (six hours and 49 minutes), and Laval (six hours and 45 minutes) regions.
The record for the longest ER visits in Quebec goes to the Hôpital Anna-Laberge on the Montreal South Shore, with a median length of stay of 10 hours and 27 minutes last year.
"More than ever, Quebecers need the government to try new ways of doing things, because the quasi-monopoly model has demonstrated its limitations," Faubert concluded.