The wait times in Wakefield Hospital’s emergency room heated up in July, and it wouldn’t be wrong to blame the weather.
The average occupancy rate on stretchers has increased steadily since May, according to statistics released by the Quebec Health Ministry.
July’s hot temperatures could be a factor in the increase, according to Andre Desilets, the executive-director of the Centre de santé et de services sociaux (CSSS) des Collines.
More people could have sought relief in the emergency room, but Desilets says it’s difficult to determine direct causes.
“It’s very variable,” he said.
The Quebec Health Ministry documents waiting times every day at 10 a.m. On July 27, the occupancy rate was 50 per cent, meaning two people waited on the hospital’s four stretchers.
On other days in July, the rate was as high as 175 per cent. The Wakefield hospital has a few backup stretchers to accommodate overflow.
Although July was a busy month, the highest average occupancy rate on stretchers this year was posted last April, at about 140 per cent.
Meanwhile, the hospitals in Hull and Gatineau are seeing increases in their occupancy rates.
According to Le Droit, Gatineau’s French-language daily, Gatineau Hospital has closed 27 beds until Sept. 19 and Hull Hospital is down 16. Both hospitals are short on staff due to summer vacation.
Desilets says these closures have not had an impact on waiting times in the Wakefield hospital.