Moncton Hospital overcrowded, asks people to seek alternatives

Horizon Health Network is urging people in Moncton and surrounding areas to rethink their options for care because the Moncton Hospital is overcrowded.

On Saturday, Horizon tweeted that patients looking for care should visit sowhywait.ca to determine if their symptoms are severe before going to the emergency room.

"If you're in the ER and you need to be admitted, right now they're going to have problems finding beds," said Lynn Meahan, a spokesperson for Horizon Health Network.  

Options for care include calling Tele-Care by dialling 811, visiting a pharmacist or family doctor and going to an after-hours clinic.

Meahan said people could be looking at a 12-hour wait if they go to the hospital for something like a sore throat.

Beds all in use

There are 24 acute care and trauma beds in the emergency unit — all of which are occupied, said Dr. Ken Gillespie, chief of staff at the Moncton Hospital.

Gillespie said it's hard to pinpoint why the Moncton Hospital has experienced an increase in patients.

"People have been on holidays, maybe they've been putting things off a little bit," Gillespie said.

"A lot of the family doctors' offices are closed over the holidays so they don't have access to that and now they're having a deterioration in their symptoms and they want to get things looked at." 

The Moncton Hospital also faced overcrowding last year when patients were taking up beds while awaiting another level of care.