Davies - Saskatoon hospitals over capacity

Maura Davies, the president of the Saskatoon Health Region says there are too many patients that should be in long term care facilities, but there isn't enough space there. (David Shield/CBC)

Saskatoon Health Region officials say the city's hospitals have been dealing with a capacity issue with about 135 people waiting for placement in either short-term or long-term care Thursday. 

As of noon Thursday about 55 people were waiting in Saskatoon emergency departments for an inpatient bed while about 80 people were waiting to be placed in long-term care. 

Maura Davies, president and CEO of the Saskatoon Health Region, said in a press release that while the volume of people coming in for emergency care is the normal amount expected for this time of year, there are other areas causing the backup. 

"But we have many patients who are very sick and requiring longer hospital stays, and a high number patients in hospital waiting to be placed in long-term care," said Davies. 

"More recently, a number of other health regions, facing similar capacity issues, are having difficulty accepting transfer of patients from Saskatoon back to their home hospitals. The result is a health-care system bursting at the seams.”

Davies said the region has been dealing with the capacity issue for several weeks and has been looking into expanding how many people they take into long-term care. 

β€œIt’s frustrating for them, and it has been an exhausting number of weeks for our staff and physicians," said Davies. "We are at a point where we need to take immediate action to relieve the pressure and enable our teams to continue to provide safe care.”

While no one will be turned away from the emergency department, Davies suggests people should try to use it only in cases of real emergencies. 

If people are not sure if they are experiencing an emergency health situation they should call their family doctor or the provincial health line at "811."