Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians & AMUQ - Emergency Medical Care in Quebec is on Life Support - Let's Prevent a Code Blue!!

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Tuesday June 7, 2016
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QUEBEC CITY, June 7, 2016 /CNW/ - Patients in Quebec and some other provinces in Canada are being denied timely access to emergency care and the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) urges governments to implement the "right" remedies for the "right" diagnoses.    

The Symptoms:

  • Long wait times for Canadians in Emergency Departments (EDs)
  • Crowded and dysfunctional Emergency Departments
  • Avoidable patient discomfort, suffering and at times, deaths
  • Overworked front line Emergency Physicians and Emergency Nurses

The Diagnoses:

  • Emergency Department "access block"
    • Patients who require hospitalization remain in EDs for prolonged times instead of being admitted to inpatient beds (blocked "outflow")
    • This results in lack of space and resources for incoming emergency patients, resulting in avoidable inefficiencies, and is termed "access block"
  • Shortage of Emergency Physicians
    • Results from inadequate numbers of Emergency Medicine residency training positions

Supporting Evidence for the Diagnoses:

  • Report by Mr. Robert Salois
    • Wait times in Quebec ED's are the longest in the western world.
  • Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI) data
    • Wait times for patients in ED's requiring admission are approaching 30 hours, 90% of the time.
  • Research studies
    • Prolonged ED wait times lead to increased morbidity & mortality.
  • Report from the Trilateral* Collaborative Working Group on the Future of Emergency Medicine in Canada
    • Released June 6
  • Canada has a current shortage of 478 Emergency Physicians, predicted to double in 5 years and triple in 10 years.

The "Right Remedies" for the "Right Diagnoses":

  • Urgently implement and enforce federal & provincial wait time benchmarks in Canadian ED's for patients requiring admission to the hospital to relieve "ED access block"
    • *Time to admission after an "inpatient bed" has been requested
      (similar to the "Four Hour Rule" in the UK
  • Urgently increase the number of Emergency Medicine residency training spots in both Canadian Emergency Medicine training programs (the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada & the College of Family Physicians of Canada.)

The "Wrong Remedies" for the "Wrong Diagnoses":

  • Create "Super Clinics" to treat Access Block Evidence shows that patients with minor complaints contribute very little to increased wait times, as the ED is already staffed with physicians and nurses and these patients can be treated inexpensively & efficiently between more serious cases.
  • Mandate that CCFP(EM) certified Emergency Physicians must work in Family practice offices
    • This would paradoxically exacerbate the existing Emergency Physician shortage
  • Expect that solutions involving access to prevention, primary care, improved chronic disease management, alternative level of care alone will cure the Emergency Department diagnoses
    • While these measures are important, no matter how excellent they become, virtually all Canadians will eventually require emergency care, and the remedies outlined will be necessary


CAEP & AMUQ are confident that with the "right remedies" for the "right diagnoses", we can prevent a "Code Blue" and restore health to Canadian Emergency Medical Care – our patients deserve it!!  


SOURCE Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians

For further information: Media Enquiries Contact: Christina Bova, Manager, Membership Services, 613-793-0926 |,


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