September 10, 2022 – St. John’s, NL: Emergency rooms at the Health Sciences Centre and St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital in St. John’s are experiencing unprecedented pressures resulting in long wait times for patients. Eastern Health reminds individuals who are not experiencing a medical emergency to consider alternate options before proceeding to an emergency department.
This approach will help to alleviate long wait times by patients and also helps staff to focus on the delivery of safe and quality care for individuals who present with critical medical conditions, including those who experience serious injuries, heart attacks, strokes and difficulty breathing.
Patients with non-life threatening medical needs are advised to seriously consider if they need to go to an emergency room and should only proceed to an emergency room after all other options have been considered. Alternate options for non-urgent care include:
- visiting a primary health provider,
- visiting a walk-in or primary health care clinic, or
- calling the 811 NL HealthLine for health advice or if experiencing a mental health crisis. The HealthLine also has a nurse practitioner (NP) virtual care service that can prevent unnecessary emergency room visits for non-emergent issues. Appointments with NPs over the phone or by video are available everyday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., including weekends. Please note that, appointments to see the 811 NP can usually be accommodated within three days.
Individuals unsure whether they or a loved one should go to the Emergency Department should call the NL Health Line at 811 to speak with a registered nurse 24 hours, seven days a week.
Patients with a medical emergency who require an ambulance should continue to call 911 and only those who feel they have a serious or urgent medical problem should proceed to the nearest open emergency department.
Emergency Department teams continue to provide safe and high-quality care to those who are seriously ill. Learn more about what to expect when you visit the Emergency Department.
Eastern Health thanks the public and employees for their cooperation.
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