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With ER wait times in Quebec stagnating, the MEI publishes its latest ranking

  • Patients in the Laurentian region (CISSS des Laurentides) waited the longest, a median of 7 hours and 18 minutes.
  • The emergency room at the Anna-Laberge hospital, in the Montérégie region, is in last place with a median wait of 13 hours and 4 minutes.
  • It is in the Outaouais region that wait times increased the most this past year.

Montreal, March 18, 2024 – The median patient visiting a Quebec emergency room last year spent 5 hours and 13 minutes there, according to a study published by the Montreal Economic Institute this morning.

“This year again, Quebec patients have had to be patient indeed, with emergency room visits taking over five hours,” says Emmanuelle B. Faubert, economist at the MEI and author of the study. “While the situation is similar to what it was the previous year, that doesn’t make it any more acceptable.”

The median length of stay in Quebec emergency rooms rose by two minutes compared to the previous edition of the ranking. Over the past five years, the total increase has been 42 minutes.

“The increase in the median length of stay means that the typical visit takes a little longer,” explains Ms. Faubert.

The longest median emergency room stays in Quebec are in the Laurentian region (7 hours and 18 minutes), the Lanaudière region (6 hours and 56 minutes), and Laval (6 hours and 53 minutes).

The biggest increase in the median length of stay was observed in Outaouais, a 29-minute jump to 4 hours and 54 minutes. In that region, the median length of stay in the Hull and Gatineau hospitals increased by 1 hour and 54 minutes and 1 hour and 29 minutes, respectively.

The Anna-Laberge hospital takes home the dubious honour of having the longest visits in Quebec, with a median length of stay of 13 hours and 4 minutes this year.

“Having to spend long hours waiting in an emergency room may be the norm in Quebec, but it isn’t in other developed countries,” says Ms. Faubert. “This shows how important it is to increase hospital capacity in Quebec, starting with the two independent mini-hospitals promised by the CAQ.”

The MEI publication is available here.

The MEI’s regional ranking of emergency room visit wait times is available here.

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The MEI is an independent public policy think tank with offices in Montreal and Calgary. Through its publications, media appearances, and advisory services to policy-makers, the MEI stimulates public policy debate and reforms based on sound economics and entrepreneurship. 

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