Emergency Department Wait Times

If you have an urgent medical condition or are experiencing a life-threatening health crisis go to the closest open emergency department or call 911.

Examples of urgent medical conditions include: 

  • discomfort or tightness in the chest,
  • unusual shortness of breath,
  • abdominal pain,
  • prolonged and persistent headache or dizziness,
  • an injury that may require stitches or may involve a broken bone,
  • prolonged diarrhea or vomiting (especially in a child), or
  • fever of 38°C or 100.4°F, or higher (especially in a baby under six months).

Do not go to an emergency department if you are experiencing mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms. For more information see About COVID-19.

If your medical condition is non-urgent:

  • Call your family doctor or nurse practitioner. 
  • If you do not have a family doctor or nurse practitioner, visit a walk-in clinic; or, if you're registered for virtual health care, book an appointment online with Maple. 
  • You can also access a number of specialty services without a physician's referral. See Find Health Care.

If you are unsure about what to do:

Call 811 to speak with a registered nurse, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Estimated emergency department wait times

You may need to wait longer than the wait time posted when you arrive at the emergency department to see a physician. 

Emergency department wait times are an estimate of how long it will take to see a physician from the time you register with the emergency department.  

People with the most critical conditions are seen first. This means people who arrive after you may be seen before you.

How soon you see a physician depends on:

  • how critical your condition is,
  • how many people are in the waiting room, and 
  • how critical their conditions are. 

Wait times update every five minutes; however, they can change rapidly, without notice.

The estimated wait time for each level of urgency is the longest current expected wait time for patients assessed at that level of urgency currently in the waiting room. 

Select the hospital below for its current estimated wait times.

Wait times are posted for information purposes only.  If you need urgent care, always go to the hospital closest to you. 





      • Western Hospital, see the wait times page for current hours of operation.
        148 Poplar St., Alberton


        What should I bring to the emergency department?

        Bring the following:

        • your PEI Health Card or provincial health card (if visiting from another province);
        • an up-to-date list of your medications including how much, how often, and why you are taking each one; and, if you have any medication allergies. 
        • all pills, inhalers, eye drops, patches, injections, and creams or other medications with you in their original container including any over-the-counter products you use, such as vitamins and herbal products
        • a family member or friend for support and assistance, if necessary.


        What will happen when I arrive at the emergency department?

        You will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and a staff member will register you as a patient. 

        A triage nurse will then:

        • ask you questions about your symptoms 
        • measure your pulse, blood pressure, temperature and breathing
        • take your weight
        • ask you about any medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications and/or supplements
        • ask you about any allergies you may have; and
        • take a urine and/or blood sample and/or perform an ECG, if required.

        Based on this, the nurse will assign you a triage level. 

        All Canadian health care facilities use the same standards to determine the seriousness of a person’s illness.

        • Most urgent (Level 2): having a potentially life-threatening condition and requiring emergency medical care. For example symptoms of a heart attack or stroke; not conscious; difficulty breathing; severe bleeding. 
        • Urgent (Level 3): having a health condition that has the potential to become serious. For example head injury; deep cut or foreign object in eyes or ears; chest pain (not related to a known heart problem); signs of serious infection; urgent mental health concerns.
        •  Less than urgent (Level 4 & 5): having a non-life-threatening condition. For example back, arm, or leg pain; sore throat; ear infection; minor cuts or bumps; medication request.

        Depending on your triage level, you may be taken to a treatment room at once or asked to wait in the waiting room.


        Will I be seen within the posted wait time?

        You may need to wait longer than the estimated wait time as the demand for emergency medical attention can change quickly. 

        In an emergency department, people who are the most critical, life-threatening health conditions are cared for first. People who arrive after you may receive medical attention before you. You can not always tell how critical a person’s condition is by looking at them.

        While waiting, if you have questions or feel your condition has become worse, let the triage nurse know right away.


        What can I expect in the treatment area?

        A member of the health care team will do a more thorough assessment of your condition. 

        Depending on your condition, the emergency department physician may discuss treatment options and make any follow-up arrangements, prescriptions, or necessary referrals. 

        You may also be referred to a consulting physician or a specialist who will decide whether you need to be admitted to hospital.


        What if I leave before being treated?

        Do not leave without being seen by a physician. Should you decide to leave without being treated, let the triage nurse know.


        What if the patient does not speak English?

        Language interpretation services are available for patients who do not speak English. This service is offered to newcomer, immigrant, and Francophone patients and families. 


        Published date: 
        October 26, 2023
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        General Inquiries

        Health PEI
        PO Box 2000
        Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

        Phone: 902-368-6130
        Fax: 902-368-6136


        Your Health Privacy

        Media Inquiries
        Phone: 902-368-6135

        Health PEI Board of Directors

        If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency department.

        If you are unsure what to do about a health issue or if you need health information, call 8-1-1.

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