Health Sciences North in Sudbury says it has made significant improvements in how long people are waiting in its emergency room.

The hospital reports emergency room wait times are now lower than some provincial averages, according to hospital officials.

The hospital’s medical director of the emergency department, Dr. Rob Lepage, said, on average, patients with a serious condition are treated in 10.3 hours, while those with minor conditions spend 4.6 hours in the emergency department.

"So that's the time that they arrive in the emergency department, get triaged, get seen by a nurse, get seen by a physician, get their treatment and then get either admitted to hospital or discharged home," he explained.

Staff members have been working to improve access to care for patients, which has been a factor in reducing wait times, he noted.

"These results speak to the incredible efforts of our [ER] team to improve access to care for our patients," Lepage said.

"We did a top-to-bottom review of how the [ER] works. We recruited more doctors. We have nurses working exclusively with patients arriving by ambulance and patients with mental health needs, and the results are starting to show."

Just a year ago, wait times for patients in serious condition were double what they are now.

Wait times for those with minor conditions were reduced by about two hours.