February 23rd, 2024

Quebec health minister asks public to avoid emergency rooms amid overcrowding

By The Canadian Press on December 19, 2023.

Quebec's Health Minister Christian Dubé updates the vaccination and emergency room situation during a press briefing Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023, in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

MONTREAL – Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé is asking the public to avoid the province’s overcrowded emergency rooms.

He says people who don’t need urgent care should seek help from clinics staffed by family doctors or nurse practitioners.

Dubé says patients can also call 811 to speak to a nurse and obtain an appointment at a medical clinic.

The comments come four days after a group representing chief doctors in the province’s emergency departments sent a letter to Dubé saying the situation in ERs is “out of control.”

Health data website Index Santé says the average ER occupancy in Quebec was 131 per cent this afternoon.

Three emergency room doctors who spoke to The Canadian Press on Monday said Quebec hospitals are struggling to transfer patients out of ERs and into wards.

Canadian Press health coverage receives support through a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. CP is solely responsible for this content.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 19. 2023.

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