Skip to main content

Grand River Hospital makes top 10 emergency department list


The emergency department at Grand River Hospital (GRH) is one of the very best in the province according to a new internal report from Ontario Health, becoming the only one outside of the Greater Toronto Area to make the top ten list through the first three months of the year.

On Tuesday, Ron Gagnon, the hospital’s president and CEO, credited staff’s ingenuity for the improved performance in the face of rising patient volumes.

“It’s a great reflection of the people inside of our walls for sure because to achieve that kind of result takes the entire hospital working together,” said Gagnon in an interview with CTV News.

Gagnon said the hospital is as busy as ever, with patient visits to the emergency department remaining elevated through the pandemic.

“In fact, our emergency department is busier today,” said Gagnon. “Our visits to the emergency department have grown by 30 per cent in the last two years.”

According to Gagnon, the hospital has seen average visits of 219 per day over the last three months, including a one-day peak of 290 visits — well over the 170 daily visits the emergency department was meant to handle.


A GRH spokesperson shared statistics of the number of patients seeking care in the emergency department at the hospital:

2020/21 — 58,962

2021/22 — 73,047

2022/23 — 75,532 *projected

The number of annual admissions through the Emergency Department are also on the rise:

2020/21 — 9,342

2021/22 — 9,549

2022/23 — 10,062 *projected


The top ten list is measured through Ontario’s Pay for Results Program which uses six performance benchmarks to gauge the success of provincial hospitals.

The metrics include length of stay for patients with minor conditions, complex conditions, and those admitted to hospital as well as the time from triage to the physician’s initial assessment, time from admission to the emergency room to an inpatient bed and ambulance off-load time.

“We’re really proud of the progress that we’ve made,” said Gagnon. “We’ve moved from in the 60s out of 74 hospitals to now being in the top ten for the last three months running.”

Gagnon credits partnerships with neighbouring hospitals like St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener as well as local care homes for working to provide appropriate care where it makes most sense.

“We’re going to continue to work with the Ontario Health Team to find strategies to allow people to get care where they need it and where they want it,” said Gagnon.

He points to efforts in the emergency department to improve workflow through the department including additional shifts for physicians, dedicated resources from laboratory services and better use of idle space.

A pilot project was created to use the pre-surgery area at GRH, usually sitting dark after 4:30 p.m, which has been very successful, according to Gagnon.

He adds measures taken during the pandemic are still paying dividends today.

“During the pandemic, we added over 170 beds to our operation and having that capacity has allowed us to better care for a rapidly-growing community,” said Gagnon, stressing the importance of keeping all those beds funded and operating to manage the heightened demand going forward.

The improvement comes as the average length of stay for patients in Ontario hospitals remains at elevated levels.

As of March 2023, Health Quality Ontario reports the average length of stay in emergency for patients in Ontario hospitals is 19 hours.

Grand River Hospital has an average of 12.1 hours, St. Mary’s General Hospital averages 22.5 hours, and Cambridge Memorial Hospital averages 23.6 hours.

Guelph General Hospital averages 19.2 hours while Brantford General Hospital has an average of 23.7 hours.

Gagnon said as patients continue to arrive sicker and stay longer, the long-term plan to build a brand new acute-care hospital becomes increasingly important. Top Stories

Stay Connected