Residents can now access health advice 24/7 with the introduction of the new HealthLine number as 811.
“People can now access HealthLine for professional health advice any time by simply dialling 811 from anywhere in the province,” said Weyburn-Big Muddy MLA and Health minister Dustin Duncan.
“HealthLine is a key part of our primary health care strategy to improve access to health services, and I encourage Saskatchewan residents to take advantage of this valuable resource,” he added.
Saskatchewan joins several other jurisdictions across Canada in using 811; the old 10-digit number will continue to be operational for the next two years to ensure there is uninterrupted access to the service.
HealthLine services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are offered in English, with translation in more than 100 languages.
The line is staffed by registered nurses who assess callers symptoms and provide them with the most appropriate health support or information. Specially-trained social workers are also available to provide mental health and addictions crisis support.
“We have an experienced and specially-trained staff, who can help callers make decisions about their health care options in a safe and confidential manner,” said Roberta Wiest, HealthLine director.
HealthLine is operated by the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region for all Saskatchewan residents, and they answer an average of 5,800 calls per month.
The top 10 health concerns or symptoms received on the HealthLine include: abdominal pain or discomfort; fever in babies three months or older; chest pain or discomfort; cough (pediatric); vomiting; nausea; trauma to the head (pediatric); rash; abrasions-lacerations-puncture wounds; diarrhea or change in bowel habit.
The top 10 requests for health information are about the following: shingles; hand-foot-and-mouth disease; flu shots; chicken pox; lice; fever in children; insect bites and stings; tetanus shots; adult immunization schedule; and colonoscopy.
The top 10 mental health calls are for anxiety; depression; alcohol abuse; drug abuse; other mental health disorder; suicidal thoughts; relationship problems; stress; bipolar; and schizophrenia.
People can also find health information and advice online at www.healthlineonline.ca, which also offers interactive health tools and decision aids to help people make informed health decisions.