SURREY (NEWS 1130) – While the rest of the world gears down for the holiday season, emergency room staff are getting ready for a crush of extra patients.
Fraser Health is asking you to think about if you really need to go to the ER before you leave.
The number of people in the ER waiting room goes up seven per cent over the holidays according to the health authority, possibly because many walk-in clinics and family doctor’s offices typically close.
Fraser Health says about 20 per cent of those patients really shouldn’t be there.
Regional Medical Director of Emergency Medicine Dr. Neil Barclay says they won’t turn anyone away, but they’re asking you to think critically.
“Sore throats, mild cough, children with fevers, these are things which have been shown in the past to be very easily treated by family physicians, walk-in clinics and there are also a lot of other opportunities such as getting symptomatic treatment from your pharmacist,” explains Barclay.
“Pharmacists are very good at recommending over the counter medications which can help you with colds and flus over the holiday season. Medications which can make you feel better and prevent you having to come to the emergency department.”
Dr. Barclay adds pharmacists are also able to give you an emergency prescription refill if you run out.
Fraser Health says help phone lines can be great resources too. You can call 811 to speak with a HealthLinkBC rep.
There are also numbers to call for mental health issues and poison control. If you feel you really must see a doctor, Fraser Health recommends trying MediMap to find an open walk-in clinic.
ER staff triage patients, so those with minor issues will find themselves waiting for hours.