Emergency Care Options

At this time of year, hospitals across Ontario, including Lakeridge Health treat a higher number of patients in our Emergency Departments. This can often lead to longer than average wait times, which we recognize can be frustrating for patients and families.

To help you and your family receive access to the care you need, there are a number of health care options available.  Here is some information to help understand your care options in Durham Region.

Emergency Department 

Urgent Care Options 

Your Family Physician

Telehealth Ontario 

Emergency Department 

Please visit your nearest Emergency Department if you or your loved ones are experiencing:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Continuous vomiting or diarrhea with signs of dehydration
  • Sudden, severe headache, weakness
  • Chest pain or tightness in the chest
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • A broken bone or a bleeding wound that needs stitches
  • Fever in infants three months and younger
  • Stiff neck and sensitivity to light

Please call 9-1-1 immediately if you think your health issue may be life-threatening.

Lakeridge Health provides 24-hour care at Emergency Departments at hospitals in Ajax Pickering, Bowmanville, and Oshawa.

If you are ill and experiencing flu-like symptoms - such as chills, fever, stuffy nose, runny eyes, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, extreme weakness and tiredness and loss of appetite - we ask that you clean your hands and put on a mask upon entering the emergency department.

Urgent Care Options

If you need care and are not experiencing an emergency, there are other health care options: 

Urgent Care Centres*

Urgent Care Centres provide services for injuries and illnesses such as:

  • Infections
  • Earaches
  • Eye injuries
  • Sprain and broken bones
  • Minor burns 
  • Cuts without continuous bleeding 

*Services may vary by location and severity

Your Family Physician

To locate a family doctor who is accepting patients, visit ontario.ca/healthcareoptions. A family physician can help with the following:

  • Diagnose and treat common, non-crisis illnesses and injuries (i.e. strep throat, bladder infection, back pain)
  • Supports in managing a chronic condition
  • Provides referrals to a health care specialist
  • Completes check-up and physicals, including routine screening tests for cancer


You can also call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 to speak to a Registered Nurse.

Other Ways to Stay Healthy and Safe

Here are a few ways you can protect against illness this season:

  • Clean your hands often
  • Get a flu shot
  • Understand and become familiar with your health care options are open and located including your family doctor, nearest walk-in clinic, urgent care centre or Emergency Department 
  • Be sure to fill any prescriptions or medicines as directed and stock up on any medical equipment
  • And if you or a family member are in crisis call 911 immediately

Visiting a Patient

If you are visiting a loved one in hospital, you can help decrease the risk of spreading infection by:

  • Washing your hands and using hand sanitizer while entering the hospital and before and after visiting a patient
  • Avoiding visiting a patient if you feel unwell or have symptoms including a cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea or an unexplained rash

Please note we are seeing more patients than usual visit our emergency departments.

For up-to-date information on our Emergency Department volumes, please visit our Website and follow us on social media using Twitter and Facebook for updates.