What is a family doctor?
A Family Doctor is your primary care service provider to take care of your comprehensive healthcare needs. Please make yourself familiar with healthcare system in Canada. Once you arrive in Canada, you will need to call up and find a Doctor who is accepting new patients. A severe shortage of Doctors means that it is quite difficult to find the ones who are still accepting new patients.
What to look for in a family doctor?
A Family Doctor is your referral source to any specialist Doctor/services. A well established doctor has good personal connect with the specialists that can certainly improve the quality and access of your treatment. Further, good doctors with years of practice have more experience under their belts and can help you diagnose and resolve issues in a better way. Finding the quality of a doctor is not easy but I have used online ranking websites like ratemds.com to read reviews and ranking of doctors.
How to locate Doctors accepting patients?
You will typically search for a family doctor in the nearby vicinity of the place you stay. Be prepared to make a lot of calls.
- Health Care Connect: You can also register for the Health Care Connect initiative where a nurse will help you find a Doctor or a nurse practitioner for you. You need to have OHIP number to access this service. You can fill a online form or call at 1-866-532-3161 / TTY 1-800-387-5559. The only caveat being that they will help you just find a Doctor but may not accommodate your preferences, in case you want a better one.
- Online search: Please use the following link to search for available family doctors in your area.
- Family practice unit: Some hospitals have family practice units and you need to inquire with your nearest hospitals in case they have one and are accepting new patients.
- Register for a waiting list: Family practice units of hospitals and Doctor Clinics also maintain a waiting list of people looking for a family doctor. Whenever the Doctor starts accepting new patients, the ones registered in the waiting list are contacted.
- Reach out to community: Reach out to Social Welfare or Charitable organizations as some of them maintain a list of Doctors currently accepting new patients.