Toronto Walk In Clinic vs. Emergency Room
Toronto walk in clinic and emergency room can be slightly confusing terms. For some reason, people think that if they go to a so called "emergency room," they will get treatment much faster. Sadly, many people think so.
This is the reason why emergency rooms in Toronto are so overcrowded.
I will try to clear up this confusion and explain what to do in certain health related situations.
Because so many people expect to get urgent care in an emergency room - wait times there are crazy! 6-7 hours is normal to wait in an emergency room, while in a Toronto walk in clinic you would receive health care within 2-4 hours maximum.
On the other hand, if you are REALLY sick, you will be better off in an emergency room than in a walk in clinic. Usually people with serious symptoms are taken care of much faster everywhere.
But in emergency rooms they have all the necessary medical equipment to help you, and they can hospitalize you right away if there is a need.
In Toronto walk in clinics they have very little equipment - just enough to diagnose the symptoms of your illness.
If you do not need urgent care - for example, for preventative care - you should go to a family doctor. You simply make an appointment, wait for a few day up to a few days, then go to a doctor.
If you have the flu - you should not go anywhere! Please stay at home, drink a lot of fluids and buy some off-the counter medicine to relieve your symptoms (talk to a pharmacist).
There is no medicine against the flu! Be sure to not confuse the flu with a serious illness, though.
If, however, your little child has the flu and high fever- you should go to a walk in clinic or arrange a doctor's visit at your home.
For the location of a nearest clinic or specialty medical care in your area you can check the Ministry Of Health And Long-Term Care in Ontario website.
When should you go to an emergency room? Basically, if your health is under threat, or if you get very sick after 8 pm and this cannot wait till 8 am the next morning.
If you are not very sick, they will take care of you, of course, but be prepared to wait for a long time before you see a doctor. You could spend a night at home and then visit a Toronto walk in clinic the next morning.
If you are unsure where to go or go anywhere at all, you could call Telehealth Ontario and talk to a registered nurse. Describe your symptoms, and the nurse will tell you if your illness if worth a visit to a doctor or you can take care of it yourself.
By all means, if you need urgent care, you should call 911! Be prepared to tell them your address, symptoms, phone number and the nearest intersection. They will be on the way while you are still talking to an operator - the ambulances in Toronto are very fast to come.