MIDDLESEX CENTRE, ONT. -- The London Health Sciences Centre's (LHSC) Children's Hospital is part of a new website, UrgentCareOntario.ca, that provides access to virtual urgent care.

Children and youth who live far away from LHSC will be able to get a consultation with a doctor using the website so they can determine next steps.

Dr. Rod Lim, medical director of the Paediatric Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital, said in a statement, “We’re really proud of this care delivery innovation, and pleased to be extending our hours and reach further into southwestern Ontario with UrgentCareOntario.ca. This service gives families an alternative care option.”

St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and Hamilton Health Sciences are partnering with LHSC for the pilot program, with those hospitals providing virtual urgent care for adults and long-term care residents respectively.

Those seeking care can visit UrgentCareOntario.ca or call 1-844-CARE-844 to request a consultation. Hours of operation are noon to 8 p.m. daily.

Officials stress this does not replace in-person visits to the emergency department, but instead is a way for families to speak to a doctor remotely to determine the patient's condition and determine next steps.

Lim added that they have seen positive response to the clinic.

“As the second COVID-19 wave continues across the province, we understand families are concerned about coming to the hospital, or would like advice over virtual technology to assist them."