WALK-IN CLINIC INFO:
Walk-in clinics are where you go when you do not have a family-doctor. They are called “walk-in” clinics because you should be able see a doctor that day without making an appointment ahead of time.
Walk-in clinics are used to get advice, assessment and treatment for minor injuries or illnesses. Often, this will be where you get help to manage chronic (long-time) illnesses you may have (such as diabetes or asthma).
Sometimes, walk-in clinics are also able to provide routine or yearly checkups. You will have to contact the clinic you would like to visit in advance to know if they offer this service.
- For information of when it is recommended for children to have scheduled visits with a doctor, please refer to: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/ue5162
- For information of when it is recommended for adults to have scheduled visits with a doctor, please refer to: https://www.doctorsofbc.ca/hot-health-topics/annual-physical-exams
Remember: Doctors and other staff are there to support you with any physical or mental health issues you have. Ask for help if you need it!
Other reasons you may go to a Walk-In Clinic:
- Flu symptoms
- Sore throat
- Ear pain
- Small burns, bruises or cuts
- Sprains and strains (like back or joint pain)
- Rash or other skin issues
- Bug bites or stings
- Pain or difficulty peeing
- Stomach pain
Reasons to seek help at the Emergency Department (hospital):
- Life and death situations – when you fear that someone may die!
- Loss of consciousness (fainting)
- Large cuts or injuries with a lot of bleeding
- Confusion or a change in behaviour
- Pain to you chest
- Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath
Often it can be hard to decide if you need to see the doctor or not. If you’re uncertain, you can visit the symptom checker at HealthlinkBC https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/hwsxchk or call HealthlinkBC at 8-1-1 to speak with a registered nurse on your phone. When in doubt, seek help!
8-1-1 is a free phone service offered in over 130 languages! If you need assistance this is a good place to start!
What to expect at the Walk-In Clinic
Expect to wait!
Often there are many people looking to see a doctor. Walk-ins work by a first come first served basis – you are seen by the doctor in the order you arrive.
Often lines form 30-45 minutes before the clinic opens. So be there early (before the clinic opens) to ensure you are able to get an appointment that day.
Clinics also have a limited number of people that they can see a day. Getting there early will also help ensure that you can see the doctor that day.
The front desk is the first place you speak with someone. This is NOT a doctor. He or she will ask you for your BC Services Card, and then ask you to quickly explain why you need to see the doctor.
Once you have explained what is wrong, you will be given an appointment time. You may be able to choose a time that works best for you, and the staff member will let you know what time spaces are available. If you are available to see the doctor right away, you may get an appointment for 1-2 hours after you have spoken with the person at the front desk.
You may choose to wait in the waiting room for your scheduled appointment. If you leave, ensure you come back 30 minutes BEFORE your scheduled time.
IF YOU ARE LATE OR MISS YOUR TIME YOU MAY BE SKIPPED AND LOSE YOUR APPOINTMENT!!!
When it is your turn to see the doctor someone will call you by name and take you into an exam room. In here, you will be seen by the doctor.
Speaking with the doctor
Your time spent with the doctor may be shorter than you expect, especially after having to wait for so long. Doctors are busy, but they will spend the time with you that is needed to care for you properly! If you have questions, ask them!
In that time, expect the doctor to ask questions about your problem and why you are there. These questions may be very personal or embarrassing to answer. Answer these questions honestly, as they will help the doctor help you. Healthcare in Canada can seem like an invasion of privacy.
Remember that everything you and the doctor speak will be kept confidential. What you speak about is private, and only shared between you and your doctor!
The doctor may also need to touch you to check you as well. The doctor will only touch you as much as they think is necessary, and if you feel uncomfortable, please let your doctor know! They want to help you, and may not realise that you are feeling uncomfortable.
If you feel better bringing a family member or friend for support, they are welcome to join you. They can even come into the exam room with you!