Your Healthcare Options

Know Your Options

Not every condition requires emergency.

Know your options so you can get the care you need when you need it. The best place to start is with Health Link or your family doctor. But, there are other options depending on what you need:

Health Link

A free, round-the-clock, telephone advice and health information service.

Highly experienced Registered Nurses can provide you with advice and information about:

  • health concerns or symptoms
  • treating conditions such as colds and flu, fever, ear aches, rashes, and; many other conditions
  • the most appropriate health care option, if you need further follow up for your condition

Anyone in Alberta with a health concern can dial 811 for Health Link.

Family Doctor

Family doctors are the best option for ongoing medical care with continuity. They will:

  • diagnose and treat most medical issues
  • provide periodic health exams
  • supervise chronic illness and mental health issues
  • provide referrals to other medical consultants and specialists if needed

Hours vary. Some clinics offer visits for urgent situations if you need to see a doctor right away. For after hours care, please ask your family doctor about your best option. There may be after hours availability, or if your doctor belongs to a Primary Care Network, after hours options are often provided.

Need Help Finding a Family Doctor? Use the online tool provided by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta or call Health Link.

Urgent Care Centres

Urgent care centres provide extended hour access for unexpected, but non-life-threatening health concerns, which require same day or evening treatment. Patients coming to urgent care centres may arrive on their own, or be transported there by ambulance. Urgent Care is not a first-come, first-served system. Patients are seen in Urgent Care Centres based on their medical condition and the severity of their situation.

Urgent Care teams typically consist of nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians. An urgent care centre is also supported by an on-site laboratory and x-ray department. Hours of operation vary depending on facility. Please check for operation times and locations.

For serious and life-threatening health concerns always go to your nearest emergency department, or call 911. Visit an urgent care centre for illnesses or injuries that require same day/evening treatment but are not life-threatening. If you are unsure if you should be visiting an urgent care centre, call Health Link for advice.

Common conditions treated in an urgent care centre include:

  • broken bones
  • sprains
  • cuts
  • asthma
  • dehydration
  • pain
  • infections

The role of a centre or an urgent care centres is to provide a transitional step of health service between community physician offices and hospitals.

Urgent care centres have a broader and deeper range of services than physician clinics, but are not equivalent to emergency departments. They also help conserve emergency room resources for more serious, life-threatening conditions.

Find Urgent Care Services near you.

Family Care Clinics

FCCs are an initiative in some communities in the province, to increase access to primary health care services, particularly for those who are: under-served, require a family physician, have chronic diseases and/or Addiction & Mental Health needs.

With a strong focus on wellness, FCCs offer individuals and families comprehensive care close to their home and are integrated with other health services and community supports and programs.

FCCs are different from traditional primary health care settings in that individuals won’t be required to see a physician for access to many of the services offered within the FCC such as dietary advice, physiotherapy or addictions counselling.

MyHealthAlberta is a Government of Alberta initiative in partnership with Alberta Health Services.

This website is a single place for you to go to find trustworthy health information and useful health tools. Among many other resources available on this site, you can:

  • Look up information about a particular health concern
  • Find out how you can live a healthier lifestyle
  • Use the health checkup tool
  • Find out more about treatments, medications and health alerts

Visit to find out more about this valuable resource and how it can help you. MyHealthAlberta will continue to expand be updated with useful health information. Currently, the website includes the following:

  • Health A-Z
  • Healthy Living
  • Tests and Treatments guides
  • Medication guides
  • Health services
  • Health Alerts
  • Decision tools
  • Health checkup tools

Walk-In Clinics

If you don’t have a family doctor, some communities have walk-in clinics that often don’t require an appointment. Walk-in clinics are staffed by family physicians.

Many have extended hours into evenings and weekends, providing another option for after hours care.

Health Link can provide advice on after hours care, if you are not sure where to go. This is an option for minor health concerns such as sprains, minor cuts, minor pain, ear infections, and flu symptoms.

Call Health Link or consult your Yellow Pages directory.

Ambulatory Care Centres

In some communities in Alberta, Ambulatory Care Centres provide timely diagnosis and treatment for urgent, but non-life-threatening conditions, including sudden illness or injuries that can be normally treated in a doctor’s office, but which require immediate attention.

Currently, in Alberta, there are Ambulatory Care Centres in the communities of La Crete and Picture Butte:

Community Health Centres

Facilities that offer community and public health services, provide a wide range of health care options, which may include:

  • prenatal
  • postpartum
  • health promotion
  • disease and injury prevention
  • bereavement services
  • communicable disease and school health

In addition, there are many other community care public health and wellness programs available. Find a Community & Public Healthy Centres near you.


Your local pharmacist can:

  • Renew your prescription for current, ongoing therapy to ensure treatment is not interrupted.
  • Assess symptoms of minor conditions, such as coughs and colds, and either offer treatment (some pharmacists can now prescribe and all pharmacists can advise you on non-prescription medications) or refer you to the most appropriate treatment location.

Pharmacists also offer a wide range of services that can help you and your family maintain good health and avoid emergency situations, including:

  • help you with over-the-counter medications
  • provide you with information on how to properly store and take your drugs
  • review your medications to ensure all the medications you are taking are necessary and dosages are appropriate
  • give you advice on non-prescription and natural health products (such as herbal remedies)
  • monitor and help manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, or high blood pressure
  • design weight loss and smoking cessation programs

This is only a partial list of what pharmacists can help you with. Get to know your pharmacist – the more they know you, the more they can help. Learn more about the range of services your local pharmacy can offer at the Alberta College of Pharmacists website.

Emergency Departments

If you are concerned that you are seriously ill or injured, go to the nearest Emergency Department. Patients with potentially life-threatening conditions should immediately phone 911.

Emergency Departments provide access for patients suffering from life threatening to minor conditions.

Emergency is not a first-come, first-serve system. Critical patients are attended to first. Find your nearest Emergency Department.

There are estimated emergency wait times available for the Calgary and Edmonton areas.

See an updated length-of-stay statistics from Edmonton and Calgary emergency departments.