Family Doctors
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How I Found a Family Doctor in Ontario

Over 6 million Canadians are currently without a family doctor. For the last two and half years, I was one of those Canadians. I recently moved to a new city and since then was not able to find a family doctor.  I tried calling multiple offices but no one was accepting new patients. I was unsure how long it would take so I decided to take my health into my own hands. 

How I got care when I needed it in the meantime

Getting the care I needed to me meant prioritizing my health and deciding what care would be best for me. There are lots of different health options depending on your situation. Speak to different providers to find out who can help you whether that’s physiotherapy, chiropractors, massage, or maybe a naturopath.  At the time I decided a naturopath would be a great fit for focusing on my overall health and meeting my current care needs. I used Medimap to find a naturopath nearby that was able to address all my concerns as well as run some bloodwork for me. When I needed to see a medical doctor I used Medimap once again to find a walk-in clinic. While having a family doctor would have been ideal, I was thankful that I was able to see a doctor when I needed one.

How to increase your chances of finding a family doctor

If finding a family doctor is something that’s important to you, there are a number of things you can do to be aware of when a doctor is accepting new patients. Here are a few ideas you can try:

What government resource can help find a family doctor

In Ontario, Health Care Connect, refers Ontarians who don’t have a physician to a family health care provider who may be accepting new patients.

How does Health Care Connect work?

Unattached patients can call or go online to to register with the program. To successfully register, unattached patients must have a valid OHIP card and complete a health questionnaire to determine their need for family health care services. Priority is given to individuals who have greater health needs.

Once registered, program participants are assigned to a Care Connector.

Care Connectors, who are nurses employed by Home and Community Care Support Service Organizations, will work with family physicians and nurse practitioners who are accepting new patients.

Once an available provider is found, Health Care Connect will give the patient the provider’s practice information to schedule their first appointment.

Health Care Connect sends providers a letter to inform them when their referral information has been passed on to a patient.

How I found a family doctor?

One day, in one of the local groups, someone shared a photo of a family doctor accepting new patients and calling Health Care Connect to become a patient.  

When I called, I was told that I was still attached, to the family doctor I had used in the previous city I lived in. I had not seen that doctor in two and half years. I was told they could unattach me from this doctor. A few business days later, I received a letter confirming that I was no longer under the care of my previous doctor. 

At that point, I called back the contact I was working with, who then referred me to the new family doctor that is accepting new patients. 

Within two days I recieved a phone call from the clinic to set up a meet and greet appointment with the new doctor. 

Throughout this process, I continued to advocate for myself and my health. As a parent to two young children, it’s important for me to model what that looks like. 

While it was a journey finding a family doctor, have patience, be persistent and remember that if you have a health concern, there are doctors at walk-in clinics nearby who are happy to help.

Want to read more from our leadership team? Check out “The Role of the Pharmacist in Patient Care”.

Visit to find practitioners near you and easily access the care you need.

About the author

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Shereen Mohammed

Shereen is a passionate marketing professional with over 7 years of experience in executing traditional and digital marketing strategies across diverse industries. With a background in both agency and client-side roles, Shereen has successfully implemented effective marketing campaigns that have yielded a positive return on investment. As an energetic individual, Shereen possesses strong organizational and communication skills, ensuring seamless team coordination and collaboration. She thrives in process-driven environments, paying meticulous attention to detail while remaining focused on achieving results. With a proven ability to manage multiple projects in competitive and fast-paced settings, she is dedicated to driving success through strategic marketing initiatives.

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