After Hours Access to Care
If you have a life-threatening medical emergency, go to a hospital emergency room or call 9-1-1 immediately.
A hospital is only one place to get emergency care. Sometimes people go there because they don't know where else to go. To help you understand all your choices, you'll find information here on:
- Where to get help for urgent but non-life threatening problems
- Where to get help for life threatening problems.
Where to get help for urgent but non-life threatening problems?
Who can help me if I'm sick or injured and not sure what to do?
Patients who are registered to a University of Ottawa Health Services (UOHS) primary care provider (PCP) are urged to call the clinic at 613-564-3950, Monday through Friday 8am to 8pm, Sat & Sun 10am to 2pm. You can speak to the nurse assigned to your PCP or if after hours, you can dial 1-866-553-7205 and speak to a nurse at the Telephone Health Advisory Service. The nurse can provide healthcare advice, or, if appropriate, provide access to a family health team doctor or suggest that you go to the ER.
Non registered Ontario patients are to contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. This is a free, confidential phone service that you can call anytime day or night. You will get health advice or general health information from a Registered Nurse.
Non registered Quebec patients are to contact Info-Santé 8-1-1 which is a free and confidential telephone consultation service that puts you in contact with a nurse in case of a non-urgent health issue.
Where do I go if I need to see a doctor right away, but my problem is not life-threatening?
Patients who are registered to a primary care provider (PCP) at UOHS are urged to call the clinic at 613-564-3950 to book an appointment.
If you are not a patient registered to a primary care provider at UOHS or if a same day appointment is not available with your PCP, you may visit our walk-in clinic located on the first floor of Marie Curie. The Walk in Clinic hours are Monday through Friday 8am to 8pm, Sat & Sun 10am to 2pm. Registered patients who access our walk-in clinic will be seen by a UOHS physician or a nurse practitioner. These providers work collaboratively with your PCP to ensure that you receive timely access to medical care.
If I go to the clinic for a walk-in appointment at the Marie Curie location, how long will I have to wait?
Many things may affect the wait time before you see a PCP:
- The time and day you go to the clinic
- How busy the clinic is
- If the patient accessing the walk-in clinic is a child under the age of 24 months, they will be triaged as a priority
- If the University of Ottawa is in session (Fall and Winter)
Where do I go if I have an urgent medical problem that my primary care provider cannot treat?
Go to your nearest Urgent Care Centre. You can get help during the day, in the evening and on weekends. These centres can help with problems like eye injuries, wounds, broken limbs, X-rays and laboratory tests. You don't need an appointment – just go if you need help. Find health care options near you.
Where to get help for life threatening problems?
When should I go to a hospital emergency room?
An emergency room is also called an ER. An ER provides urgent medical and surgical care to patients at a hospital. You would only go to an ER for potentially life-threatening illness and injury. Find an Emergency Room near you
How do I call an ambulance?
To call an ambulance, dial 911 from any phone. The 911 operator can get an interpreter for you if you need one. They will ask you about your health problem and send an ambulance if you need one. Your call is free from any phone.
Ontario Residents: If you need to take an ambulance to a hospital, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) will pay for most of the cost. You will have to pay a small fee ($45).
Quebec Residents: The Government of Quebec is responsible for a major part of financing the pre-hospital emergency system. Fees charged to the end-user only cover a portion of the actual cost of their ambulance transport which is set at $125 for the pickup, plus $1.75 per kilometre travelled to the hospital.
Note: If the doctor who sees you at the hospital thinks that your ambulance was not medically necessary, you must pay $240.
Do I need a health card to use an emergency room (ER)?
In an emergency, hospitals will treat you without seeing your card first. But you will have to show your card later if you want the provincial plan to pay your hospital bills.
What happens when I visit an emergency room (ER)?
This is what will likely happen after you arrive:
1. First, you need to sign in at the front desk of the ER. This lets staff know that you are there and what your problem is. If your medical problem needs immediate action, a nurse or doctor may see you right away.
2. Next, you will see an ER nurse. This nurse makes sure that the sickest people get to see the doctors first.
3. If you have to wait, you will likely be asked to sit down in the waiting area.
4. Staff will call your name once an exam room is ready. The exam room will likely have a bed and a chair in it. It may also have some medical equipment. You may have to wait here awhile to see the doctor.
5. When the doctor arrives, he or she will talk to you about your medical problem and check you over. At this point, the doctor will decide what should happen next. For instance, you may need an X-ray or a test. You may have to wait for your results.
Once the doctor knows more about your problem, you may be treated and sent home. Or, if your case is more serious, you will stay at the hospital for further tests or treatment.
If I go to an emergency room (ER), how long will I have to wait?
Many things may affect how much time you will spend in an ER:
- How serious your condition is
- The time and day you go to the ER
- The size and location of the hospital you visit
- How busy the ER is due to things like major accidents or a flu outbreak
- If you need to stay in the hospital for surgery or other treatment