Semiahmoo Peninsula doctors are encouraging patients to get the 'right care in the right place' this holiday season – and that isn't necessarily Peace Arch Hospital's ER.

White Rock and South Surrey doctors urge ER rethink

Routine visits over Christmas may be best helped at a family doctor's office or walk-in clinic, patients told.

Is your trip to the emergency room really necessary?

The White Rock South Surrey Division of Family Practice is launching a campaign to encourage people to avoid going to Peace Arch Hospital’s ER this holiday season by getting the “right care” at the “right place”.

Last year, over the Christmas holidays, people were waiting up to six hours in the ER for help, but the division’s physician lead, Dr. Grace Park, said many such situations can be avoided.

By educating the public on increased options for primary health care, less-urgent cases can be directed to more appropriate treatment venues, she said.

“There are (urgent) cases that need to be in hospital, of course,” Park said. “I think the message is that if we want the ER to be there for us when we really need it, we want to make sure that it’s being used well.”

For someone needing medical help over the holidays – particularly for an ongoing condition – a call to a family doctor might be the best first step, Park suggested.

As a result of the division’s ‘GP For Me’ initiative, there has been an increase in the number of family doctors in the area – and the number of patients registered with them – and a majority of area GPs have made adjustments to their schedules to be able to fit in patients on an urgent basis during the holidays, she noted.

In addition, the 811 HealthLink BC line offers a 24-hour service with nurses and other health-care professionals who can evaluate symptoms and advise callers on the best help available to them. That might include recommending a visit to the ER, but might offer alternatives, she said.

She also recommended checking the website, Medimap.ca, which not only identifies walk-in clinics but estimates wait times.

If the need is for something as simple as a renewed prescription, Park said, pharmacists can fax requests to family doctors and may be authorized to provide a limited amount of an ongoing prescription to tide patients over.

“The family doctor is usually the best person to treat a patient and give them the right continuity of care,” Park said. “Being in hospital, you’re often exposed to sick people – it’s better to stay away, for seniors in particular, who are often compromised or can succumb to hospital infections.”

Park said that past shortages of doctors in the community have led to a perception that their help is not an option in the short- term, but this has changed.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Refund emails from City of White Rock a ‘phishing’ scam

IT staff work to nullify security breach in ‘classic phishing campaign’

‘Lifting Hands’ mural on White Rock wall celebrates community’s COVID efforts

High school students, grads inviting health-care workers, emergency crews to add handprints

Surrey monitoring traffic as vehicles again clog city streets

Compared with city’s 2019 weekly average, deepest volume reduction was in late March with up to 46 per cent less vehicles

Art’s Scarecrow Festival to return in September

Sixth annual event will be different than previous events because of the pandemic

Surrey’s top cop is keynote speaker at Surrey Board of Trade AGM

Asssistant Commissioner Brian Edwards will be on deck at Tuesday’s ‘virtual’ meeting

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

B.C. man who nearly died from COVID-19 reflects on one-month battle

Robert Billyard was in an induced coma to ensure his body would not fight the ventilator to breath

Man wanted for ramming police car and almost hitting bystanders in Abbotsford

Police say Lorne Guilbault ‘engages in high-risk criminal driving behaviour’

Wedding party bear sprayed at Okanagan campsite irks locals

Latest criminal activity at the Meadows leaves locals frustrated

Paramedics fired for allowing patient to crawl for treatment on Downtown Eastside: court documents

The man spent three days in intensive care and three months recovering in hospital from sepsis

Feds seeking private consultant to design firearm buyback program

The ban covers some 1,500 models and variants of what the government considers assault-style weapons

Face masks for teachers can impact learning on young children, experts say

Face coverings, mandatory in most indoor public places across the province, can help limit the spread of COVID-19

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Most Read