When you should go to emergency for medical attention.

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 need to wait.

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 emergency care, go to the Emergency Department.

For emergencies

Call 9-1-1 or visit your nearest hospital Emergency Department if you are experiencing an emergency health issue. Some examples of emergencies include, but are not limited to:

  • chest pains
  • difficulty breathing
  • severe bleeding
  • broken bones, or suspected broken bones
  • stroke or heart attack symptoms
  • symptoms of sepsis
  • pain in early pregnancy

If possible, have your Personal Health Number (BC Care Card) handy and bring a list of your current medications.

Advice on using the ED 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 you don't have a family doctor or yours is unavailable, or if you have an injury or illness that requires immediate medical attention, but is not an emergency, visit an Urgent and Primary Care Centre. Find a location at fraserhealth.ca/urgentcare.

For trusted health advice call Fraser Health Virtual Care to speak with a registered nurse from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. seven-days-a-week. Call 8-1-1 outside of those hours.

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 you may be able to manage with over-the-counter medications.

For a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control at 1-800-567-8911. For a child/youth mental health crisis, call Fraser Health's START program at 1-844-782-7811.

For mental health/substance use concerns, call the 24/7 Fraser Health Crisis Line at 604-951-8855 or toll free at 1-877-820-7444.

For Surrey residents, if you or your loved one has an urgent mental health or substance use concern (that does not require hospitalization), visit the Surrey Mental Health and Substance Use Urgent Care Response Centre.

For emergency or life-threatening conditions, including broken bones, severe breathing problems or severe bleeding call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest Emergency Department.