Island Health asks for public’s assistance in appropriate emergency room use

January 13, 2017

ISLAND-WIDE — Island Health is asking Island residents to do their part to ensure they are using Emergency Departments appropriately, particularly at this time of year when patient visits increase due to influenza and other seasonal illnesses.

“When people use our Emergency Departments wisely it goes a long way in helping dedicated emergency room physicians, nurses and clinical staff provide timely, quality care to patients who truly need emergency care,” said Jeremy Etherington, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Island Health. “People are reminded that emergency rooms triage patients and those in need of emergency or urgent care are seen first, meaning potential longer waits for those with non-emergency or urgent needs, such as a prescription refill.”

While emergencies are unavoidable, some simple steps to avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital emergency room include:

  • If you need non-urgent care, book an appointment with your family doctor or visit a walk-in clinic;
  • Get a flu shot;
  • Wash your hands frequently to avoid getting sick and spreading germs;
  • See your doctor before the weekend and/or holidays, if necessary, to avoid long wait-times in the Emergency Department;
  • Note the weekend and holiday hours of your local pharmacy/drug store, and ensure your prescriptions are up to date;
  • Make sure you have basic pharmaceuticals on hand to control children’s fever and pain;
  • Become familiar with walk-in clinic locations in your area, and their hours of operation;
  • Wear a seatbelt when operating or riding in a motor vehicle;
  • Don’t drink and drive; and
  • Wear the right footwear to avoid falling or slipping.

Should you feel you or someone in your care is in need of emergency medical treatment do not hesitate to go to the Emergency Department or call 911. If you are unsure about whether Emergency Department care is needed, call HealthLink BC at 811 to speak to a nurse, 24 hours a day.

Media inquiries:

Central/North Island media inquiries
Valerie Wilson
Director, Communications & Engagement

South Island media inquiries
Kellie Hudson
Media Relations Manager