A Guide to Holiday Health Care in Calgary

What to do if you need non-emergency medical care on a statutory holiday.

So it’s three o’clock in the afternoon on Dec. 24 and you’re sure your toddler is coming down with an earache. Short of going to the closest (and likely packed) emergency room, what can you do?

First, call Health Link (dial 811). This 24-hour-seven-days-a-week information service will connect you with a registered nurse, who can help you decide if it’s necessary to go see a doctor, or if you should just give them children’s Tylenol and wait it out. Health Link is also online at myhealth.alberta.ca. This is a waaay better option than Googling the symptoms, which is a gateway to all manner of unsubstantiated information. Leave the diagnosing to professionals!

If it turns out you do need to see a doctor, don’t panic. Even on the twilight of Christmas Eve, there are still options that will allow you to avoid the hospital. The key is Calgary’s Primary Care networks (Foothills, Mosaic, West Central and South Calgary). With the exception of South Calgary, all the Primary Care Networks have clinics that are open post-regular business hours and on statuatory holidays.

If it turns out you do need to go to a hospital emergency room, or you don’t have a family doctor that’s part of a Primary Care Network, visit albertahealthservices.ca/waittimes to see which hospital has the shortest wait time.

This article appears in the December 2019 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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