By Mike Fisher
It’s after hours and your doctor’s office is closed. You need care for yourself or a family member. What do you do?
The first step is to call the 24/7 information line Health Link (dial 811) says Christopher Cameron, acting executive director of Clinical Services and Evaluation with Calgary West Central Primary Care Network.
Health Link calls are answered by nurses who provide advice and general health information for Albertans, along with information about treatments, diseases and healthcare services. They help put you in touch with the right healthcare professional or service, including the Primary Care Network (PCN) where you live.
Patient demand for after-hours care rises a bit during the holidays, says Cameron. People generally seek help for ear, nose and throat infections during the winter cold and flu season.
These kinds of ailments can be quickly treated at an after-hours or open walk-in clinic in your PCN, rather than going to an emergency department at a hospital, says
Cameron. “With some clinics, you can call and book an appointment, so you have the ability to avoid
When Michelle Feragen needed medical assistance for her daughter, Brielle, she called Health Link. Based on the advice they received, they saw a doctor within an hour. “No parent wants his or her child to be ill, but when my girl wasn’t doing so well, I was confident she was in good hands and we were receiving quality care. The PCN service works.”
If you call your family doctor’s office after hours or during the holidays, you’ll likely get a recorded message directing you to call Health Link.
“The pace of life for everyone is hectic and our dedicated family doctors throughout Alberta work long hours,” Cameron says. “They too, need time to rest and recover so they can provide the best possible care.”
This story appears in the latest issue of Health Matters magazine. Click here to read the full issue.
After-hours care through Calgary Foothills PCN
Our Access 365 Clinic operates 7-days-a-week. It provides after-hours care and same-day appointments (if appropriate) for patients who need urgent help.
Who can get an appointment?
- Have an urgent need to be seen by a doctor within 24 to 48 hours
- Can’t get an appointment within that time with their own family doctor
- Are patients of Calgary Foothills Primary Care Network doctors
How to get an appointment
Call your family doctor, if their clinic is open. If your doctor can’t see you because they are fully booked or away, for example, ask clinic staff to check whether an appointment at Access 365 Clinic might be right for you. A clinic can refer you directly to Access 365 if you have an urgent need to see a doctor; or
Call Health Link, if your doctor’s clinic is closed. Please call 811. Let the Health Link nurse know you are a patient of a Calgary Foothills PCN physician. Ask if an appointment at the after-hours clinic is right for you. A nurse may offer you an appointment at our Access 365 Clinic or get an on-call physician to phone you.
Please call 911 if you are experiencing an emergency
Hours of operation
Monday to Friday: 1 – 9 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday and statutory holidays: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday, December 25: physician on call