FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government reminds New Brunswickers of the alternatives to emergency room visits as the holiday season approaches.

“Our government knows that access to good-quality health care is important to New Brunswickers,” said Health Minister Benoît Bourque. “We are committed to improving access to primary health care by maximizing the use of health professionals, and by linking primary health care practitioners, home support services, extra-mural nurses and others. It is a priority for our government, as we know the availability and delivery of health services has a significant impact on the quality of life of the people of our province.”

Over the holidays, pharmacies and doctors’ offices often have reduced hours or are closed. This results in more people visiting hospital emergency rooms. Visits for non-emergency medical conditions can tie up valuable health-care resources.

Emergency rooms are meant to help patients with health concerns that require immediate care. This includes chest pain, tightness or discomfort; shortness of breath; internal bleeding; fainting or broken bones. 

Here are some alternatives to treatment in hospital emergency rooms:

  • If you have developing health concerns, try to see your doctor before the holidays.
  • Know the holiday hours for your local pharmacy, and ensure prescriptions are up to date and filled prior to the holidays.
  • For non-urgent care during office hours, call your family doctor or the doctor on call for your doctor’s practice or clinic.
  • Call Tele-Care 811 for confidential, information and advice related to non-urgent health issues.
  • Consider going to a walk-in or after-hours clinic. Call ahead to confirm the clinic’s hours.

In most cases, your family doctor is the most appropriate person to see if you are not feeling well. For after-hours medical problems that cannot wait until the next day, but are not life-threatening, call Tele-Care 811 or visit your nearest clinic.

Anyone needing urgent medical attention should go to the emergency department of their local hospital or call 911.