Press release

Vancouver Coastal Health advises residents of care options ahead of holiday season

VANCOUVER, B.C.- Ahead of the upcoming holiday season, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is advising people to ensure they access care in the right place. While it is important to visit the emergency department (ED) for emergent health issues, non-life threatening urgent and non-urgent conditions can often be effectively managed by urgent primary care centres (UPCCs), family doctors, walk-in clinics or other services. Those who are unsure where to access care can call 8-1-1 for general health guidance and information on services available in their local community.

During last year's holiday season, VCH EDs recorded over 30,000 visits. Of these, over one third were categorized as non-urgent or low acuity.

"The holiday season is no exception to our consistent advice year-round: never delay seeking treatment or care as it can worsen your condition. Any life-threatening conditions, including suspected stroke or heart attack, poisoning or overdose, major trauma, head injury with loss of consciousness, among others, are best managed in a hospital setting, said Dr. Eric Grafstein, Regional Head of Emergency Medicine at VCH and Providence Health Care.

"Hospitals continue to follow rigorous infection prevention and control guidelines ensuring they are a safe place to receive emergent care throughout the pandemic. However, visiting the emergency department is just one of a number of options available for people with some non-life threatening health concerns, many of which can be treated efficiently by family doctors or walk-in clinics," continued Dr. Grafstein.

Five UPCCs operate across VCH communities where they deliver treatment for same-day, non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses when individuals are unable to see a family doctor or other health care provider. From Jan. 1 to Nov. 30, 2021, they recorded 101,810 in person visits from people seeking care. UPCCs have the resources and expertise to provide treatment for sprains and strains, cuts, wounds and skin conditions, infections, asthma attacks, among other non-urgent issues.

VCH, in partnership with Providence Healthcare, LifeLabs, the Division of Family Practice, Doctors of B.C. and B.C. Pharmacy Association have developed the Winter Care campaign, including a resource webpage which outlines the health-care services available to residents throughout the holiday season and winter to ensure those who require care are aware of the range of services delivered across the region.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is committed to delivering exceptional care for all 1.2 million people within the ancestral, traditional and unceded homelands of 14 First Nations. With more than 26,000 staff and medical staff, VCH is British Columbia's hub of health-care innovation, research and academic excellence, providing specialized care to patients throughout the province. Learn more at


Related articles

Emergency mental health care

New High Acuity Unit now open at Lions Gate Hospital

New urgent and primary care centre opens in Richmond

Vancouver Coastal Health to close temporary testing site at UBC Life Sciences Centre

Construction starts on new Lions Gate Hospital tower

Vancouver Coastal Health COVID-19 testing update

Vancouver Coastal Health opening COVID-19 vaccination clinics at Langara College and Vancouver Community College for students and general public

Vancouver Coastal Health offering COVID-19 vaccinations to post-secondary students

More MRI scans coming for Vancouver Coastal Health patients

Vaccine clinic to pop up at Playland this weekend

VCH launches mobile interpretation devices at COVID-19 vaccination clinics

VCH brings COVID-19 vaccine to summer fun spots this July

Vancouver Coastal Health Demobilizing Alternate Care Site at Vancouver Convention Centre

All VCH vaccination clinics now welcome drop-in first dose appointments

Vancouver Coastal Health postpones appointments at two COVID-19 vaccination clinics and temporarily closes test collection

Vancouver Coastal Health expanding COVID-19 vaccination clinic capacity for those requiring first dose

Vancouver Community College clinic expanding vaccination capacity to support COVID-19 immunizations

Drop-in COVID-19 first-dose vaccine clinics opening this week for Richmond seniors 65+

VCH encourages eligible Sunshine Coast residents to register for their COVID-19 vaccination

VCH encourages eligible Powell River residents to register for their COVID-19 vaccination

VCH encourages eligible Sea to Sky residents to register for their COVID-19 vaccination

Next step taken for new acute-care patient tower at LGH

VCH Opens New Vaccination Clinic in Richmond

Vancouver Coastal Health upgrades the in-patient acute mental health unit at Richmond Hospital

VCH opens additional vaccination clinic dates for Sunshine Coast and Powell River

Urgent and primary care centre in Richmond now open

Vancouver Coastal Health opens new COVID-19 immunization clinics

Vancouver Coastal Health invites the next age group to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment

New Richmond UPCC to provide health care closer to home

Vancouver Coastal Health COVID-19 vaccination clinic locations now listed

Vancouver Coastal Health suspends pay parking