December 20, 2018 12:55 pm

Plan ahead: Fraser Health urges people to be prepared this holiday season

Vancouver Coastal Health is trying to reduce the "winter surge", a seasonal spike in the number of emergency room visits. Linda Aylesworth explains how. Today's Global News Hour at 6 Health Matters is brought to you by Pharmasave.


The holidays are in full swing and Fraser Health reminds you that a little bit of planning can avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency department.

Neil Barclay, Fraser Health’s regional medical director for emergency medicine, says doctors go on holidays, too. If you require regularly scheduled medical care or need prescription refills, arrange them in advance, he said.

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“Sometimes when people recognize that their prescription’s running out near the end of December and they go to make an appointment with their primary care provider, they find out that they’ve taken a few days off,” Barclay said.

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With a little planning, you should recognize if you’re going to run out of your medicines or when you might need regularly scheduled medical care, Barclay said. “If you can schedule those appointments before the holidays, perhaps you can avoid a trip to the emergency department.”

He added there are plenty of alternatives if you are unsure about your healthcare options over the holidays.

“If people have common complaints such as things like fever and chill. There is lots of good information online or by calling 811.”

Barclay said if there is any cause for concern, the emergency is always prepared.

“Anytime people are having difficulties with breathing, severe chest pain, heavy bleeding, things like that, we’re always ready for that in the emergency department.”

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