Monday, August 04, 2008

Health - Finding a Family Doctor

You would be surprised to know that it's a challenge to find a family doctor in Canada! and it's not optional to do so ... because a family doctor, who is also called a “family physician,” “general practitioner” or a “GP.”, is usually the first person you see when you do not feel well or when you are sick. You need to find a doctor who is taking new patients.

When you have a family doctor, you go to this doctor when you are sick, unless it is an emergency and you have to go to the hospital. Your doctor keeps a record of your medical conditions and treatments and gets to know you and your family.

How to find a family doctor

Doctor Search Service: Use the Doctor Search service of the College of
Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to locate a doctor in your area. You can call 416-967-2626 in Toronto or 1-800-268-7096 ext. 626 from elsewhere in Ontario.

Yellow Pages: Another way to find a doctor is to look in the Yellow Pages of your local telephone book. Look under “Physicians & Surgeons” for “Family Medicine,” “Family Practice” or “Family Physician.” You can also ask your friends or relatives if their doctor is accepting new patients. Do not wait until you are sick to try to find a family doctor.

You may not be able to find a doctor in your area who takes new patients. You may need to go to a walk-in medical clinic. These clinics have doctors, nurses and other health care workers so you will still get medical care from a doctor.

You do not need to make appointments to go to most walk-in clinics, but you might have to wait for an hour or more to see a doctor.

To find a walk-in clinic near you, look in the Yellow Pages of your local telephone book under "Clinics-Medical." Some clinics have extended hours, so you can visit a doctor in the evening and on weekends. Many hospitals have walk-in clinics for non-emergency health problems.


Anonymous said...

Many people are unclear about the distinction between “GP (General Practitioner)” and “Family Physician,” and use the terms interchangeably but incorrectly.

In the really really old olden days, you could go to “medical school”
right out of high school. But in at least the last 40 years, you needed a college degree in order to go to medical school.

After that, you need one year of general rotating internship (covering pediatrics to OB/Gyn to surgery) and pass the licensing exam in order to practice. This is the origin of the General Practitioner.

As more and more physicians specialized and the length of residency training (after medical school) increased (ranging from 3 years for internal medicine to 8 years or more for neurosurgery), it was appreciated that even a physician who wants to be a generalist needed more years of residency training. Thus, the 3-year ‘Family Medicine”
residency was born (around the late 1970’s). If you want a generalist, make sure he or she is board certified in Family Medicine. A REAL GP, like Marcus Welby, MD, is undertrained and a rare breed indeed.

In addition it is important to recognize that in the US and Canada, only MDs (Doctors of Medicine) and DOs (Doctors of Osteopathy) are licensed physicians.

Other professional groups, from DCs (Chiropracters) to ODs (Doctors of
Optometry) may claim to be or represent themselves as “physicians” (such as “chiropractic physician” or “optometric physician”), they are not licensed as physicians because they have not had the breadth and depth of training that is at all comparable. If you need an eye doctor (ophthalmologist), especially for eye disease, your safe bet is to see an MD or DO ophthalmologist, not an OD. An OD is fine for simple eye refractions (eye glasses or contact lens prescription).

Aqm74 said...

Hi Nabil,

Thanks for the effort that you are making.
I am about to receive my immigrant visa in a few days. My wife is expecting our first baby. Could you please tell us about the steps/time involved in finding a gynecologist and related services after we land (probably in mid-Oct).

Further, should we move to Canada in the next month or two, or wait till our baby is born (and intimate the Canadian High Commission accordingly)?

Unknown said...

Hi there,

First you need to know that if you wait till your wife gives birth, you will need a visa for the child and you need to process his file as a sponsorship, and that would take a while (anywhere between 6 months and a year). I strongly recommend that you come to Canada and give the birth here, then your kid will have the Canadian passport directly rather than wasting time and efforts on sponsorship.

As for the gynecologist ... I don't really know someone by name .. but I heard that Midwives are excellent here, they come to your home whenever you need 24 hours and they are certified and well experienced and trained. Here is the website of Association of Ontario Midwives:

Good luck :)

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