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Northern Health advises of virtual clinic as patient volumes increase in Smithers

Northern Health is advising Smithers residents that the Bulkley Valley District Hospital is experiencing higher than usual patient volumes.

According to Northern Health Spokesperson Eryn Collins, the reason for the increase could be a number of factors.

She added that the reminder that was recently put out is to remind residents that there is a Northern Health Virtual Clinic for non-emergency needs.

Collins said the increase in patient traffic is not limited to just the Bulkley Valley District Hospital.

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“We know it’s important for people to either remember or to be made aware of options for non urgent healthcare needs and that can help reduce pressures on local emergency rooms where people might be headed just because of the lack of awareness of other options,” she said.

Collins added that the virtual clinic is a point of contact for those who do not currently have a family doctor or nurse practitioner or for those who need care after their local health centre is closed.

According to Collins, if you have access to a family doctor you are encouraged to reach out to them first or to attend urgent and primary care centres.

She also said that the North is no exception to the challenges the healthcare system is facing.

“We want to make sure that we do everything we can to make sure people know about their options such as the NH Virtual Primary Community Care Clinic to remind people of the existence of 811,” Collins said.

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She added that this is a way that the health authority is showing their staff they are being reported.

The virtual clinic is available between 10 am to 10 pm daily by dialing 1-844-645-7811 and 8-1-1 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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