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How to access health care services during the holidays


We want you to enjoy a safe, healthy and happy holiday season. Here is information about how to access our services over the holidays as well as some tips to help you live well.

In a medical emergency, call 9-1-1

If you or a loved one has symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, loss of consciousness, heavy bleeding, breathing difficulties, severe abdominal or chest pain, or a major accident, call 9-1-1 or go immediately to your nearest hospital emergency department. Emergency departments are open throughout the holidays for people who require urgent and emergency health care.

New City Centre Urgent Primary Care Centre now open

With a focus on West End/City Centre residents, City Centre Urgent Primary Care Centre (UPCC) in Vancouver will provide same-day urgent care for patients with unexpected, non-life-threatening health concerns.

With the most urgent patients seen and cared for first, City Centre UPCC will provide care for those experiencing  injuries and illnesses such as: sprains and strains; cuts, wounds or skin conditions; high fever; infections, including chest, ear and urinary tract; asthma attacks; new or worsening pain; dehydration/constipation; and less serious child illness and injury. Open seven days a week, 365 days per year: 

  • Monday to Saturday - 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Sunday - 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

UBC Urgent Care Centre

If you live in Vancouver, the Urgent Care Centre at UBC Hospital is open throughout the holidays. The centre is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and is staffed with emergency-trained doctors and nurses to handle minor medical emergencies that don’t require admission to hospital, such as broken bones, fevers, minor burns and eye problems.

If it’s not an emergency, choose the right care at the right place

Click to download and print our choosing care wisely poster. Put up the poster to share instructions on where to go for health care support during the holiday season. 

Walk-in clinics

If you have a health concern that is not an emergency and your family doctor is unavailable, you can find a walk-in clinic near you by using the website or go to your nearest Community Health Centre.

Call 8-1-1 for 24/7  health care advice

Call 8-1-1 or visit the HealthLink BC website for assistance finding a clinic near you or for health care advice from a nurse, pharmacist or dietician. Phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Your mental health matters

The holidays can be a trying time of year, socially and emotionally. If you are feeling blue or overly stressed, be sure to speak with someone. Our emergency contacts page lists distress, suicide, addiction and poison control phone numbers. 

Tips to stay healthy this winter

Food safety tips

Tips to prevent sickness

  • Wash your hands to avoid picking up colds, stomach viruses and other infections.
  • Get a flu shot.
  • Keep your prescription medication filled.
  • Speak to a pharmacist or health care provider before taking over the counter cold medications.

Tips to avoid accidents

  • Have the right gear for your winter activity. Wear a helmet when skiing or snowboarding, wear the right shoes or boots for walking in snow or ice
  •  Avoid slips, trips and falls in icy conditions
  • Shovel snow wisely: dress warmly, take breaks and don’t overdo it. Be honest about how much you can do yourself and ask for help for the rest.
  • Make sure your fire detectors and carbon monoxide monitors work, especially with all the extra lights, Christmas trees and candles at this time of year.
  • Put snow tires on your car.
  • Drink responsibly. Don’t drink and drive.

SOURCE: How to access health care services during the holidays ( )
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