photo of hospital exterior

24/7 Emergency

The Emergency Department at NGH is staffed 24/7. If you are experiencing a health emergency, please call 911. Only transport yourself if it is safe to do so.

Our Emergency Department serves more than 30,000 patients annually. While it may look quiet at times, behind closed doors staff may be caring for a seriously ill patient.

Wait Times

Patients are assessed when they arrive in order to prioritize their needs for emergency care. Critically ill or injured patients are always seen first.

The length of your visit depends on many factors:

  • Critically ill patients may require the care of multiple staff members.
  • Once you have been seen by the doctor, you may need lab tests and x-rays, or other doctors may need to be consulted.

Please do not call the ER asking about wait times. Your waiting time will depend on your condition and the condition of other patients in the ER.

Telehealth Ontario provides phone access to a Registered Nurse 24/7. If your condition is not severe or immediate, they may help determine if visiting the ER is necessary. TeleHealth Ontario’s phone number is 1-866-797-0000.

If your symptoms change or increase while you are waiting, inform the triage nurse immediately.

The Emergency Team is made up of physicians, nurses, physician assistants, respiratory therapists, attendants, crisis/social workers, clerical staff, and volunteers.

During your visit, you may also see students/residents from different health care professionals. These health care professionals-in-training are completing a crucial part of their education, gaining real-life experience with real patients. They are always closely supervised according to their level of experience.

Commonly Asked Questions

How are patients prioritized?

Patients are triaged by a trained Triage Nurse according to their severity. A nurse will ask the patient questions, assess their vital signs and review their health history. With this information she determines the triage level of the patient.

Do ambulance patients have a higher priority?

Ambulance patients are treated the same as patients who enter on their own. Upon arrival to the hospital patients go through the same triage process and may be required to wait to be seen by a physician in the waiting room.

Why does the ER get so backed up?

On occasion, our emergency department gets backed up. this could be the result of:

Critically ill patients who requiring a greater level of care
The volume of patients
The number of treatment beds available, including acute care beds .
Patients waiting for diagnostic testing (X-ray) or laboratory results.

What can I do while I wait?

If you are not being treated immediately, books and magazines will help pass the time. There are TVs in the waiting rooms. If you have young children with you, feel free to bring a small toy for them. You can also access the hospital's free wi-fi service

What can I do to make my experience in the ER better?

Your stay in the ER will be improved by:
Providing the Triage Nurse with a full list of current medications; please bring along your medications.
Bringing your Ontario Health Insurance Plan card or other health insurance information.
Bringing identification (i.e. driver’s license).
Having a list of your allergies.
Drawing attention to a Medical Alert Bracelet, if you wear one.
Talking to a nurse if you decide to leave without seeing a doctor.
Not eating or drinking without checking with a nurse.
Asking questions if you are unsure of anything. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Return to Programs & Services