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Northern Health's virtual clinic providing medical expertise/treatment for patients

Call-in phone and video line grew out of COVID crisis
Northern Health's Virtual Primary and Community Care Clinic provides medical expertise and treatment options to patients who call in from all over the northern half of the province.

What began early in the pandemic as an online information source for people who had questions about the COVID virus now provides a direct line for patients in the Northern Health region that connects them to doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners.

Lineups can be long at the walk-in clinics or the emergency ward at UHNBC and the Northern Health Virtual Primary and Community Care Clinic is there to provide prompt relief and treatment options for patients with minor injuries or ailments.

It also helps patients deal with mental health issues or substance abuse. Online doctors can arrange lab tests or imaging such as an x-ray without an in-person visit with the patient. A follow-up virtual visit can then be arranged if the patient doesn’t have a family doctor or wants the test results to remain private.

Open to patients anywhere in the northern half of the province, all it takes to reach a professional help over video or a phone call. The phone line (1-844-645-7811) is answered daily from 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

But if you have a serious condition, you should go to the hospital or call 9-1-1.

Northern Health recommends people call virtual clinic if you or a family member are experiencing:

•          Asthma

•          Ear aches

•          Eye irritation/injuries

•          Feelings of anxiety, sadness, or depression

•          Headache

•          Mild back pain

•          Mild breathing difficulties

•          Mild shortness of breath

•          Minor burns

•          Skin rashes and infections

•          Sore throat or cough

•          Sprains caused by minor accidents and falls

•          Symptoms of COVID-19

•          Urinary tract infections

•          Vomiting, diarrhea or dehydration

•          Worsening cough

•          A need for support around substance use treatment such as Opioid Agonist Therapy, or safer pharmaceutical alternatives to street drugs.

The virtual clinic has provided primary and community care clinical assessments and mental health counselling to clear patient backlogs in Mackenzie, Dawson Creek, Fraser Lake, Prince Rupert and Quesnel.

Nurses have been trained to help communities provide breastfeeding support, postpartum assessments and sexually transmitted disease education.

Since March 13, 2020 the virtual clinic had received 122,268 patient calls as of Nov. 22, 2022.

Since it was launched as the virtual clinic on Nov. 26, 2020 the clinic had conducted more than 29,000 primary care provider assessments and 78,500 nursing online appointments through November last year.