When to use Emergency
In life-threatening situations, emergency services are vital. However, they are not set up to care for routine illnesses, and they do not work on a first-come, first-served basis.
During busy times, people with minor illnesses may wait for hours. Also, your records from your family doctor are not available, so emergency doctors only have information about your medical history from previous visits to that hospital.
Use good judgment in deciding when to use emergency medical services. Whenever you feel you can apply home treatment safely and wait to see your regular doctor, do so. However, if you believe your situation requires urgent care, by all means go to the emergency department.
For urgent care
If you are experiencing chest pains, difficulty breathing or severe bleeding call 9-1-1 or visit your nearest hospital emergency department.
Have your B.C. Care Card handy and bring a list of your current medications.
Advice on using the ER wisely
For any health concern call your family doctor first. Your family doctor knows you and your medical history. Same-day urgent appointments may be available.
If your family doctor is not available check medimap.ca for walk-in clinic wait times and hours. Request that a copy of the visit be sent to your family doctor. The medimap service is available in most communities although there are some clinics that are not yet participating.
For trusted health advice call 8-1-1, HealthLink BC, available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. Speak with a representative who will help you find health information and services, or connect you with a nurse for health advice, a dietitian for nutrition information or a pharmacist for medication advice. Or visit HealthLink BC.
For an urgent medication refill speak with your pharmacist. Your pharmacist may be able to provide an emergency refill of your prescription, including medications for chronic conditions. Contact your pharmacist for minor issues that might be managed with over-the-counter medications.
For a mental health concern call the Fraser Health Crisis Line 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. 604-951-8855.
For critical or life-threatening conditions call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room. Hospital emergency rooms are not the place to go for common illnesses or minor injuries.