pei-hospital-emergency

Charlottetown's Queen Elizabeth Hospital will update ER wait times on its website every five minutes. ((CBC))

Two hospitals on the Island are now offering their emergency room wait times online so people can know what to expect before they head to the hospital.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince County Hospitals, the province’s two largest emergency departments, are offering up the information which estimates how long patients will have to wait to see a physician once they register at the hospital.

Health Minister Doug Currie announced the change Thursday. In a statement, he said the tool “will help Islanders make an informed choice as to where best to access emergency care.”

The online estimates will be updated every five minutes. They list how many patients are waiting and how many are currently being seen by a doctor.

It’s up to the triage nurse to determine if cases are considered most urgent, urgent or less than urgent.

“We know that the environment in our emergency departments can change quite quickly and dramatically based on the number of patients coming into the department and how sick or critical they are, which often impacts how long other patients may have to wait to be seen by a physician,” said Dr. Richard Wedge, the CEO of Health PEI, in the release.