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What to do if you don’t have a family doctor

Over 6 million people in Canada do not have a family doctor. Regardless of your reason for not having a family doctor, it can be quite challenging and frustrating not having a centralized place for all your health information. It’s important for you to take control of your own health journey. This means that even if you don’t have a family doctor, its each person’s responsibility to get the testing needed and find a healthcare practitioner that can help. Here are some tips on what to do if you don’t have a family doctor:

Ask doctors if they are accepting new patients

Directly asking doctors if they are accepting new patients is one way you might get lucky and connect with a doctor or clinic that will be accepting new patients. If you have some time, it can be a good idea to call a practice and maybe they just decided to start accepting new patients or maybe a new doctor joined their team. Once a clinic starts promoting that they are accepting new patients, their capacity will fill up quickly.

Walk-in clinic doctors: If you are visiting a walk-in clinic, why not ask the doctor you are helping, if they know any doctors or clinics that are accepting new patients? Doctors are typically well-connected and have many colleagues that might be accepting new patients.

Walk-in to clinics: If you’re out running errands and happen to see a doctor’s office, why not walk in and ask if they are accepting new patients?

Have blood work done yearly

Even if we feel healthy overall, It’s important to own your health journey and that means having blood work done yearly to ensure there isn’t anything that your body is lacking. If you’re working with a naturopath, they can do a blood work requisition. If not, any walk-in clinic doctor can do one. If there is something specific you would like to have tested such as iron or vitamin d then advocate for yourself and ensure those are included in the bloodwork requisition

Once the bloodwork has been completed, make a follow-up appointment to discuss the results. Become familiar with what the normal range is for vitamins and minerals. Ask questions to understand what the blood work results show.
If the lab you got your bloodwork done, can log in and view your results, create an account so you have a centralized place for your lab results. You can also download them and save them yourself.

Leverage other health care practitioners

Our first response when we have a health concern is to visit the doctor but depending on the health issue, there could be other healthcare practitioners that can help. As of 2023, Canadians can visit a pharmacy to get assistance in treating minor ailments. You can see a full list of what pharmacists can help you with for each province.

Additionally, naturopaths can help with several health issues such as migraines, sleep, hormonal, skin conditions, digestion issues, allergies, thyroid issues,

Go to the same walk-in clinic

While you can always check Medimap to check for the walk-in clinic with the shortest wait time, it may be a good idea to try to go to the same walk-in clinic if possible. By going to the same walk-in clinic, you can become familiar with how they operate and their doctors. For example, while a clinic may “open” at 9, some clinics start accepting patients a few minutes before 9 am.

Maintain your own health log

No one is responsible for your health but you.  If you have children, it’s important to advocate and keep a health log for yourself and each one of your children. 

This health log would keep:

Register or Sign up for Family doctor waiting lists

Each province has its system for how to connect people who don’t have a family doctor with a family doctor who is accepting new patients. Research the one for your province. In the meantime, you can also add your name to the Medimap Family Doctor Wait list. Medimap will notify if we find out of a doctor who is accepting new patience in your area.

To easily search, compare and book an appointment with a professional near you, visit

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