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Ministry of Health

Resources for Patients

Patient Resource Links

One of the challenges you may face as a person with a chronic disease is understanding the medical terminology related to your illness. You may need to be familiar with certain terms and definitions in order to discuss your condition with your doctor.

Patients as Partners is both a policy and a philosophy of the BC Ministry of Health which was first outlined in the 2007 Primary Health Care Charter.  In 2008, the ministry showed its commitment to moving this forward by creating a leadership position, the director of Patients as Partners, based in the ministry’s primary health care branch.  More information is available at

There are many sources of medical information available on the Internet; some are from reputable, reliable sources, some are not. The following resources provide a wide range of medical information and are maintained by reputable organizations.

General Purpose

Information on finding a general practitioner can be located on the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC website at For other primary health care links, visit Key Links.

HealthLink BC 
HealthLink BC is the gateway to access non-emergency health information and advice in British Columbia. It is a phone number (8-1-1) and a website (, both of which can be accessed 24/7/365. It is also a collection of print resources (including the BC HealthGuide Handbook) which put services and health know-how into the hands of B.C. residents. Our residents can call 8-1-1 from anywhere in the province to speak with a registered nurse, dietitian or pharmacist or to find a health resource close to where they live.

Our website provides medically-approved information on more than 4,000 health topics and symptoms and offers tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It also offers an integrated search and mapping function to more than 5,600 health services to help B.C. residents find health services within their home communities.

Translation Services in 130 languages are available upon request.

HealthLinkBC: Health and Seniors Information Line
HealthLink BC is now responsible for the Health and Seniors Information Line. This number is a ‘one stop’ location to obtain information on both health and non-health related federal and provincial government programs and services for British Columbia seniors. The Line also provides B.C. residents with information about health services, the health care system and interpretation of a wide variety of health media releases, legislation, policies, programs and services. The line is accessible 8:30 am - 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding holidays).

HealthLinkBC Files
The HealthLink BC Files are a series of more than 200 easy-to-read fact sheets on public health and safety topics including common illnesses, vaccinations, environmental health concerns and health tips. All HealthLinkBC Files are available as downloadable PDFs in English with most topics translated into other languages including Chinese, Farsi, French, Punjabi, Spanish and Vietnamese.

The BC HealthGuide Handbook
The BC HealthGuide Handbook is a self-care manual that provides information health topics including disease prevention, home treatment, emergencies, healthy lifestyle choices and advice on when to seek a higher level of care. The BC HealthGuide Handbook can be ordered free of charge to residents of B.C. using HealthLink BC’s online order form.

Chronic Disease Self-Management Program
The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program is implemented throughout BC by the University of Victoria Centre on Aging, with assistance from Health Canada through the Primary Health Care Transition Fund.

The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program is provided through teams of trained volunteers who, themselves, have a chronic illness. In the program, participants get new information, learn new skills and abilities, and develop new ways to manage and cope with chronic conditions. Participants give and receive support from others who are experiencing similar health conditions, and realize they are not alone - that the difficulties they are experiencing are also experienced by others.

The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program teaches skills in the following areas:

  • developing a suitable exercise program
  • cognitive symptom management
  • nutrition management
  • breathing exercises
  • problem solving
  • use of medication
  • communicating with family, friends and health care providers
  • dealing with emotions such as anger and depression

Diet and Nutrition

Dietitian Services at HealthLinkBC
Dietitian Services at HealthLinkBC are available online and by telephone to answer your diet and nutrition-related questions. Call 8-1-1 free-of-charge from anywhere in B.C. to speak to a registered dietitian 8am – 8pm Monday to Thursday and 8am – 5pm Friday, or email Dietitians Services 24/7/365.


Healthy Families BC
Healthy Families BC helps families make healthy choices and introduce innovative approaches to challenges facing the health care system. This strategy supports British Columbians in managing their own health, reducing chronic disease and ensuring that pregnancy and support programs target the province’s most vulnerable families.

Canada's Physical Activity Web site
Health Canada's online guide is designed to help you make wise choices about physical activity that will improve your health, help prevent disease, and allow you to get the most out of life. If you think your congestive heart failure might prevent you from becoming more active, check out the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire.

Stop Smoking
An Internet-based quit smoking service available free-of-charge to all British Columbians.™ is available anytime and creates a personal program for the smoker, depending upon where that person is in their quit attempt.

QuitNow by phone: 1-877-455-2233
A confidential tobacco cessation helpline available free-of-charge to residents of British Columbia. The service is open 7 days a week 24 hours a day so that callers can seek help when they need it most.

BC Tobacco Reduction and Control
Visit this site for information about tobacco and smoking, and links to Regional Tobacco Reduction Coordinators to find out what local programs are available. The site includes links to What is in Cigarettes?

Health Canada: Go Smoke Free!
The Health Canada resources called QuitNow will guide you through the quitting process, one step at a time, to achieve the success you want.