Leave the ERs to emergencies: CKHA

In a shifting of physician work times, the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance has added six hours of physician work time in the Chatham emergency department, and that’s cutting wait times, officials say.

Don’t go to the ER unless you absolutely have to.

That’s the message in a nutshell from the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.

Officials say that due to sustained significant bed capacity concerns and increasing pressure across the acute care system, they are asking the public to seek care for non-emergency needs in community settings where possible.

Those community settings can include a family doctor, a walk-in clinic or even Health Connect Ontario.

CKHA personnel said emergency cases will still be addressed immediately in the ERs, but they warned that patients attending the emergency department for non-emergency ailments should expect longer wait times than usual.

On top of this, ambulance response times for non-emergency situations may also be longer than usual.

Just click here to visit the Chatham-Kent Ontario Health Team’s resource page to get a list of walk-in clinics.

Visit www.eriestclairhealthline.ca for a directory of health services in the region.

Health Connect Ontario replaced Telehealth Ontario. You can call or visit online by dialing 8-1-1 or by clicking here.

For people who have or believe they have COVID-19, CKHA officials reminded them the COVID-19 Assessment Centre located at 10 Grand Ave. in Chatham provides care for those with mild to moderate COVID-19, cold and flu-like symptoms who need a clinical assessment.

Clinical staff at the Assessment Centre will conduct an assessment, may offer a COVID-19 test, and may offer treatments.

You do not have to be eligible for a COVID-19 test in order to attend the COVID-19 Assessment Centre. Appointments can be booked directly on the COVID-19 Assessment Centre website, www.assessmentbooking.ca or by calling 519-436-2556.




  1. Unnecessary visits to ER are a symptom of the region’s shortage of primary care physicians. If people who are I’ll have reasonable access to an assigned family doctor they will go there 99% of the time. We moved here 2 years ago, are on the waiting list for a dr but not yet been called. There is a shortage of live Dr access at walk-in clinics and that leaves people with Telehealth. Not everyone is comfortable with this technology and Drs are also not permitted to order certain things like a referral for colonoscopy without an in-person visit. So, while it is okay to remind patients to not used ER for non-critical health issues, the powers that be need to redouble their efforts to solve the system issues at their end too.

  2. Well this is why free healthcare is awesome! You get what you pay for!
    Also, I’m sure there’s tonnes of Docs just begging to work in such under serviced areas with no incentives, poor working conditions and ridiculous overheads all the while working like dogs to pay off school debt and try to buy a house. After all, it’s that easy for a new Doc. And never mind their significant other; they would love to move to a rural place where they can stay home under or unemployed.
    Then there is the issues of being on call, having to see and take every undesirable patient all the while taking abuse from the public and being thrown under the first bus that passes
    No thanks!
    Nacho Doctor Pepe

  3. This beggars belief. Have you tried to see a doctor lately. If by some miracle you actually get to speak to a warm body at a doctor’s office, they tell you to GO TO THE HOSPITAL. Nice place to work if it wasn’t for the patients.


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