Alberta Health Link gets 811 phone number

Albertans needing health advice or information quickly can now call 811.

Albertans can now call 811 for province's health hotline

Health Link nurses responded to about 1 million callers last year. The 24-hour health advice and information line can now be reached by calling 811. (CBC)

Albertans needing health advice or information quickly can now call 811.

Health Link, the province's free 24-hour health advice and information line, exchanged its 10-digit numbers for the easy to remember 811 on Monday.

The province will spend $325,000 to promote the new number. 

One of the goals of Health Link is to prevent unnecessary trips to the emergency department.

Of about one million calls from Albertans to Health Link last year, "nearly half (48 per cent) were given advice to care for themselves at home, 36 per cent were told to visit their doctor or another health care provider and just 16 per cent were advised to go to the emergency department," Alberta Health Services said in a news release.

Other provinces, such as B.C. and Saskatchewan, use 811 for access to non-emergency health-care services.

"Alberta's adoption of 811 will create consistency for those travelling to and from neighbouring provinces," the agency said.

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