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Emergency Wait Times

​About Wait Times

Unlike a walk-in clinic, you are not seen in order of arrival, but based on the urgency of your need. Urgent patients will be seen immediately.

Estimated wait times are updated every 15 minutes but they are approximate and can change very quickly.

Wait times are estimated from when adult/non-urgent patients are registered (following assessment) to when they first see a physician. They do not include the time it takes to be assessed or reflect the total length of a visit.

Printable materials

Poster - "Who goes first in Emergency?"

An explanation of the triage scale.

Brochure - "Inside the Emergency Department: Information for Patients and Families"

  • Who goes first?
  • Why am I waiting?


Brochure format


Printer Friendly

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who goes first and how is urgency of a patient's need determined?

The first thing that happens when you arrive in the emergency department is triage. Triage sorts patients according to the urgency of their need for care. Those with the most immediate need will be seen first.

  1. People who have the most urgent need – for example, those involved in a vehicle collision, whose hearts have stopped beating, or at risk of dying – are seen first.
  2. Second to be seen are the very urgent cases – examples include those with chest pain, trouble breathing, or with large broken bones.
  3. Third are the urgent cases – including those with asthma attacks, stomach pains or high fever, etc.
  4. Less urgent are those, for example, who need stitches, have smaller broken bones, or a sore ear, eye or throat.
  5. Not urgent are those who need stitches removed, or who need a prescription renewal.

If you feel your condition, mental or physical, or the condition of your loved one, has worsened since you arrived, please inform a triage nurse.

2. My doctor instructed me to go to emergency for a procedure or test. Why do I have to wait?

Sometimes, patients come into the emergency department with the understanding that they have an appointment through their doctor. You cannot make an appointment in the emergency department. Unlike a walk-in clinic, you are not seen in order of arrival, but based on the urgency of your need.

3. Why are children/pediatric patient wait times not provided?

Pediatric emergency services are only provided at Royal University Hospital (RUH) and use a slightly different support process. As such, pediatric wait time is much less predictable.

Last Modified: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 |
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