Vancouver Coastal Health launches awareness campaign to minimize emergency room 'winter surge'

Vancouver Coastal Health is reminding people to seek out the appropriate place for care in order to avoid the “winter surge” of overcrowded emergency rooms.

With cold and flu season in full effect, slips and falls more common during the winter months, and busy holiday schedules possibly disrupting regular hours at health-care clinics and doctors’ offices, VCH is launching an awareness campaign to inform people about their options when it comes to choosing the right care at the right place.

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“Call your doctor or nurse practitioner’s office for non-emergency issues,” states Dr. Afshin Khazei, medical director of the urgent and primary care centres in Vancouver and North Vancouver, in a press release. “Other options include calling HealthLinkBC (811), talking to your local pharmacist about emergency prescription refills, or visiting a UPCC.”

The North Vancouver UPCC officially opened last month. The centre, located on the second floor of 221 West Esplanade, is intended to treat patients with injuries or illnesses that should be addressed by a health-care provider within 12 to 24 hours, but do not require emergency care, according to the release .

“We see things like fevers, sprains, cuts requiring stiches, broken bones and infections,” states Khazei.

The Vancouver city centre UPCC is located at 1290 Hornby St. in Vancouver and is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The North Vancouver UPCC is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

More information is available about holiday heath-care options by visiting vch.ca/holidaycare.

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