Emergency Department

December 20, 2023: Expect longer wait times at the Emergency

For reason out of our control, we are currently experiencing longer wait times—Be prepared to wait. This is a difficult situation for everyone, patience and respect are required.

  • As always, the sickest people get seen first.
  • Check for non-urgent, community resources. They may be faster and save you a hospital visit.

We appreciate your patience.

Alternatives to the Emergency Department



Due to the pandemic, we have modified certain processes, however, the Emergency Department remains open 24 hours a day and provides safe care.

  • We offer the same level of emergency medical care as before.
  • Do not neglect your health. If you are worried about your condition, please come to the Emergency.

Note on COVID-19 testing

  • The Emergency Department is not a COVID-19 Testing Centre. Please follow guidelines in the testing section.
  • If you have symptoms that you can manage, and your condition is stable, do not seek testing at the Emergency Department. Follow public health guidelines and isolate at home.
  • If you have cold, flu or other respiratory symptoms, you may book an appointment at the HGH Respiratory Assessment Centre.
  • If you have symptoms that you are unable to manage and your condition is worsening, come to the HGH Emergency Department. For example, breathing difficulties or chest pain require prompt medical attention.

Note on the Emergency Department services and wait times
The hospital is asking for the community’s support — by saving the Emergency Department for emergencies. We also ask for your collaboration and patience when you come to the Emergency as wait times may be longer than usual.

Preventive measures
The following preventive measures will apply until further notice and may be modified without notification to ensure patient, staff and physicians’ safety.

  • You will have to disinfect your hands and wear a mask.
  • We recommend that only one parent accompany a sick child (aged under 18) when coming to the Emergency for care.

For more details on current changes due to the pandemic, please visit Information on COVID-19.

About the Emergency Department

The Emergency Department at Hawkesbury and District General Hospital (HGH) provides urgent medical care for adults and children with acute injuries or illness.

Our physicians and nurses treat close to 60,000 patients yearly in our acute and ambulatory sections. Urgent cases have access to X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan and laboratory services.

The Emergency Department (ED) operates 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

When should you come to the Emergency?

  • You should come to the ED when you have a health problem that requires urgent attention. If you are unsure, please call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or Info-Santé Québec at 8-1-1.
  • It is not appropriate to come to the ED for form completion, referrals or second opinions.
  • Please note that we do not renew prescriptions or provide routine ambulatory care or follow-up for chronic problems.

When should you call an ambulance to come to the hospital?

  • If you have a serious or life-threatening condition like a stroke, a heart attack or serious trauma, you should call 9-1-1.
  • If your condition makes walking or driving too dangerous and you cannot have someone take you to the hospital, call 9-1-1 for an ambulance.

Emergency Department services do not include

  • Prescription renewal for:
    • Narcotics (morphine, fentanyl, hydromorphone, oxycodone, etc.)
    • Benzodiazepines (lorazepam, diazepam)
    • Medical cannabis or other controlled substances
    • Medications for the treatment of a chronic health condition (hypertension, cholesterol) for a period of more than 14 days
  • Prescription tests to diagnose certain non-urgent chronic health conditions, for example, apnea test, non-urgent magnetic resonance imaging, non-urgent CT scan, EEG or EMG
  • Follow-ups examinations for chronic illnesses, for example chronic tendonitis
  • Completion of insurance forms other than:
    • Attestation form of work stoppage generated by our computer system
    • CSST and WSIB forms
  • Production of medico-administrative expertise reports

I need medical care, but it’s not an ‘emergency’. Where do I go?

  • Going to a walk-in clinic or a family doctor would be the best option.
  • To find one of them, check our Resources and links section.

About The Program

What to bring

  • Health card
  • List of medications and allergies
  • Medical history
  • Emergency contact information

What happens when you arrive at the Emergency?

  • Upon arrival, a triage nurse will assess your condition.
  • You may then be sent immediately to an examination room or for an X-ray.
  • Some less urgent problems are seen rapidly in our EDAS (Emergency Department Ambulatory Service), open from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • You may also be asked to return to the waiting room and your name will be called out when it is your turn.
  • The sickest patients are treated first. The ED does not apply a first come, first served system. We apply the Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) to determine the order in which physicians see patients.

How long will you wait before seeing a physician?

  • Wait times depend on several factors:
    • The severity of the condition or complaint
    • The number of patients already registered and currently being treated
    • The availability of examination rooms, nursing staff and physicians
    • The amount of new critical patients arriving in the ED
  • Coming by ambulance does not affect the time until seen by a physician. It depends on how sick you are.
  • To avoid losing your turn if your name is called out, inform the triage nurse if you leave the ED for a few minutes to go to the washroom or to get a snack.
  • If you have been waiting for more than 90 minutes and a physician has not seen you, please check in again with the triage nurse.

How long will you stay in the Emergency Department?

  • Once you see the physician, your length of stay will depend on the required tests and treatments.
  • For example, getting blood test results takes from 60 to 120 minutes, while an X-ray exam will add 30 to 60 minutes. A CT scan could take from one to 5 hours.
  • Our physicians may also keep you under observation in the ED to ensure that the treatment you received is helping or to see how your condition changes.

What to do if your condition gets worse?

  • If your condition worsens before you see the physician, please advise the triage nurse.

Who can stay with you while in the Emergency Department?

  • To ensure safety and confidentiality, only one person is allowed to stay with a patient in the ED.
  • This support person should act as the key contact between the staff and family members in the waiting area or at home.

Leaving before seeing a physician

  • Sometimes patients start to feel better, have to go somewhere or do not want to wait any longer.
  • We discourage patients from leaving before being seen by a physician. However, if you decide to leave, please talk to the triage nurse prior to leaving the ED.

Busiest days and times at the Emergency Department

  • Sundays, Mondays and Fridays are usually busier. However, it is important to note that any day can be very busy in the ED.
  • Evenings are often our busiest time. Nevertheless, it can also be busy outside of these times.
  • During the night, a single ED physician is on call for all HGH patients and emergencies. Unless you are very sick, you may only be seen when the morning doctors arrive.

Hours of operation

Emergency Acute section: 24- hours a day, 7- days a week

Emergency Ambulatory section: 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. 7 days a week


To check on someone’s condition – the number should only be called if no family member or support person is available. Call 613-632-1111 and dial 0.


HGH – Main Campus
1111 Ghislain Street
Hawkesbury, ON K6A 3G5

The Emergency Department is located in Block D, level 1. View a hospital plan.

Champlain Health Line

Children Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO)

  • For information on CHEO’s Emergency Department, visit CHEO.

Healthcare Connect Ontario

Health Connect Ontario

  • For free, confidential telephone service to get health advice or general health information from a Registered Nurse, call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.
  • The service provides round-the-clock access to a qualified health professional. It can help you decide whether to care for yourself, make an appointment with your doctor, go to a clinic, contact a community service or go to a hospital emergency room. For more information, visit Health Connect Ontario.

Healthcare Options Ontario

Ontario Poison Centre Hotline

  • For telephone information and advice about potential or real exposures to poisonous substances, call 1-800-268-9017.

Primary Care Access Point for Québec patients

  • The digital Primary care access point (GAP) can direct you to the appropriate health services. For more information, visit the website GAP.

Info-Santé Québec

  • Info-Santé is a free and confidential telephone consultation service for Québec residents.
  • Dialling 8-1-1 promptly puts you in contact with a nurse in case of a non-urgent health issue. The service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For more information, visit Info-Santé.

Montreal Children’s Hospital

Sainte-Justine Hospital

  • For information about the Mother and Child University Hospital Centre in Montreal, visit CHU Sainte-Justine.