As part of its regular myth-busting series, the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation has examined the oft repeated claim that emergency departments are clogged with patients who should be seeing GPs.
You can read the article in full here – or skip straight to the conclusion that: …”research suggests that simply reducing noses through the ER door and introducing more primary care physicians alone will not resolve the backlog. ER overcrowding is a symptom of a larger set of issues that cannot be addressed by the emergency department – or even hospitals – alone. As a recent report on improving access to emergency care states:
A system wide problem cannot be remedied by selecting only portions of a system wide solution.”
The article introduced me to a term I hadn’t met before: “orphan patients” – those who have no primary care provider and see the hospital emergency department as their only source for medical attention.