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Current Emergency Department, Urgent Care wait times now posted on NHS website and in our waiting rooms

Posted Oct 27th, 2015

Beginning today, current Emergency Department (ED) and Urgent Care Centre (UCC) wait times and other information about usage are available on Niagara Health System’s website and on monitors at our sites as part of our ongoing efforts to improve the patient experience and access to care.

Launching this new system reinforces our commitment to be transparent and accountable by communicating information in real time that will help those we serve make more informed decisions about their care. Monitors in the ED and UCC waiting rooms display site specific wait times, while the NHS website includes wait times information for all of our EDs and UCCs.

Four key pieces of information are now available 24/7 to the public:

  • wait times to see a physician or nurse practitioner in our EDs and UCCs;
  • the number of people currently registered and waiting;
  • the number of people currently being treated;
  • when the ED/UCC is busiest over the next six hours based on the previous 30 days (on the NHS website only).

“Wait times in our EDs and Urgent Care Centres are among the most frequently asked questions by our patients and families. All of this information is now available to the public in an easy-to-understand format,” says Mr. Derek McNally, Executive Vice President Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive. “An automated system refreshes the data every 20 minutes, allowing us to provide up-to-date information about what patients can expect when and if they come to one of our Emergency Departments or Urgent Care Centres.”

Niagara Health is one of few hospitals in the country that provides this real-time information to the public. This information is powered by Oculys and is based on a year of research into activity patterns and flow in the NHS EDs and UCCs.

“Niagara Health is the first system of this size in Canada to provide a community with this information,” says Mr. Franck Hivert, Oculys Health Informatics CEO and President. “By innovating, they are delivering what the public really wants. Our experience has proven that positive things happen when people know what to expect and actively participate in managing their care.”

For all medical emergencies, call 9-1-1 (free from any cell or payphone). Emergency Departments treat patients with serious injuries and illness. Urgent Care Centres treat patients with minor injuries and illness.  

Many factors can affect pressures in Emergency Departments and Urgent Care Centres, and changes can take place quickly and significantly depending on patient need. The sickest patients are seen first. The wait time on our website and on the waiting room monitors is an estimate based on computer calculations. It is not a guarantee of the length of time patients will wait.

The wait times can be found by clicking on the clock on our home page, on monitors located in our ED and UCC waiting rooms or by going directly to

Media contact: Steven Gallagher, Communications Specialist, 905-378-4647, ext. 43879;

Niagara Health System