Emergency rooms overcrowded: Why I wouldn’t call 112 in case of an emergency anymore

The growing problem of overcrowded emergency rooms

Emergency rooms are meant to be a place of refuge for those in need of immediate medical attention. However, in recent years, these vital healthcare facilities have become increasingly overcrowded, leading to longer wait times and compromised patient care. This alarming trend has prompted many individuals, including myself, to reconsider calling 112, the emergency hotline, in case of an emergency.

Long wait times compromise patient care

One of the primary reasons why I would hesitate to call 112 in an emergency is the prolonged wait times experienced in overcrowded emergency rooms. When a large number of patients flood the ER, medical staff are stretched thin, struggling to provide timely care to everyone in need. This can result in delayed treatment, exacerbating the severity of the patient’s condition and potentially leading to irreversible consequences.

Moreover, the overcrowding issue often leads to a shortage of available beds, forcing patients to wait in uncomfortable chairs or even hallways. This not only compromises their privacy but also increases the risk of exposure to contagious diseases. In such conditions, it is understandable why many individuals, including myself, would be hesitant to seek help from an overcrowded emergency room.

Alternative options for immediate medical attention

Given the challenges posed by overcrowded emergency rooms, it is essential to explore alternative options for immediate medical attention. One such option is urgent care centers. These facilities are equipped to handle a wide range of non-life-threatening emergencies, providing prompt medical care without the excessive wait times typically associated with emergency rooms.

Urgent care centers offer a viable alternative for individuals who require immediate medical attention but do not have life-threatening conditions. These centers are staffed with qualified healthcare professionals who can diagnose and treat a variety of ailments, including minor injuries, infections, and illnesses. By opting for urgent care centers, individuals can receive timely care without adding to the burden of overcrowded emergency rooms.

Preventing emergencies through primary care

Another crucial aspect to consider is the prevention of emergencies through regular primary care. By prioritizing routine check-ups and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, individuals can reduce the likelihood of experiencing a medical emergency. Primary care physicians play a vital role in monitoring and managing chronic conditions, identifying potential health risks, and providing preventive care.

Regular visits to a primary care physician allow for early detection and intervention, preventing minor health issues from escalating into emergencies. By taking proactive measures to maintain one’s health, individuals can minimize the need for emergency room visits and alleviate the strain on these already overcrowded facilities.

Improving emergency room efficiency

While alternative options and preventive care are essential, it is equally crucial to address the root causes of overcrowding in emergency rooms. Healthcare systems must invest in strategies to improve the efficiency of emergency room operations and reduce wait times.

One potential solution is the implementation of triage systems that prioritize patients based on the severity of their condition. By categorizing patients and allocating resources accordingly, emergency rooms can ensure that those in critical condition receive immediate attention, while individuals with less severe ailments are directed to alternative care settings.

Additionally, increasing the number of healthcare professionals, such as doctors and nurses, can help alleviate the strain on emergency rooms. By hiring more staff, healthcare facilities can provide better coverage and reduce wait times, ultimately improving patient care and satisfaction.


The overcrowding of emergency rooms is a pressing issue that demands attention and action. As individuals, we must consider alternative options for immediate medical attention, such as urgent care centers, and prioritize preventive care through regular visits to primary care physicians. Simultaneously, healthcare systems must invest in strategies to improve emergency room efficiency and reduce wait times. By collectively addressing this problem, we can ensure that emergency rooms remain accessible and effective in providing timely care to those in need.