Your very own find-a-doctor first-aid kit

Even though the number of students graduating from medical schools has increased each year since 2001, many Canadians cannot find a doctor who is free to take their file on a permanent basis. That means big headaches for many people, just when they need it the least.
Is there a doctor in the house?

Experiencing health problems, even minor ones, is bad enough, but not having a family doctor can sometimes turn an illness into a nightmare. If you’re looking for a doctor, keep these little tricks in your first-aid kit; they will help you increase your chances of finding a doctor.

  • The ministry of health. Begin by checking the provincial ministry of health’s website to see if they provide a physician’s directory or a waiting list to get access to a family doctor. Of course, going on a waiting list won’t solve your problem on the short term, but it could still pay off in the long run.
  • Organizations. Some patient advocacy organizations can provide assistance in helping you find a doctor. Do a search on the Internet and see which health organizations are operating in your area.
  • References. Ask around to see if people know of a family doctor who is accepting new patients. And don’t just limit yourself to friends and family. Your pharmacist, dentist, or physiotherapist might be in the loop about how you can find a doctor who is taking patients.
  • Medical clinics. Phone a medical clinic directly and tell them you want to find a doctor. Even if their physicians aren’t taking on new patients, the receptionist may give you the name of another doctor who is.
  • Local newspapers. Keep an eye out for announcements in your local newspapers. When a new clinic is about to open in the area, there might be a write-up about it or they might announce that they will be taking new patients. Don’t waste any time; you’re not the only one out there looking for a doctor!

A self-evaluation

Although you are most likely not a health care specialist, give the severity of your condition a thought before you begin to look for a doctor or visit the emergency department. Minor health problems don’t necessarily require the intervention of a doctor. You could also consult a nurse.

On the right track

So, now that your first-aid kit is well-stocked, you’ll know where to steer your search to find a doctor.

Your very own find-a-doctor first-aid kit
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