Note: this page is not meant to provide medical advice but as reference only
If you need to find a specialist or have some laboratory tests, you will need to find a family doctor, also known as general practitioner (GP). But if your doctor has moved away, changed disciplines, retired or has died, then you will need to find another GP.
Finding a family doctor these days, has it’s challenges. With increased corporatization, many family doctors feel overworked or overwhelmed by new regulations, changing technologies and patient assumptions. Remember, your health care provider wants to provide you with the best environment that supports best practice and work-life balance. Hence the trend towards a medical team approach.
That leaves you to locate a family doctor or medical services that addresses your needs. Remember to give yourself the time needed to find a Doctor or Health Care Provider, as this will be one of your most important relationships.
How To Find A New Doctor In Ontario
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) program finds physicians and nurse practitioners who are accepting new patients in their community. To register for the Health Care Connect program, call 1-800-445-1822, or visit the MOHLTC website for more information.
About 88% of the people who joined found a health care provider. However, there is no guarantee that a health care provider will be found or that they will take your entire family. Priority is given to those with urgent needs.
- Ask a friend or family member who their doctor is and if they know whether they are accepting new patients
- Check out the Community Health Services that service your area. Primary health care and prevention programs are provided through these centres by physicians and other health professionals.
- You can also reach out by phone:
- Telehealth: 1-866-797-0000
- Mental Health Helpline: 1-866-531-2600
Resources for finding a doctor in Ontario
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO
Ontario’s Health Care Connect
Find a family doctor or nurse practitioner that are accepting new patients. This service requires that you remove yourself as a patient from your current heath care provider. Ask your health care provider if they are still willing to provide health care to you while you find a new doctor or nurse practitioner.
Health Care Options in Ontario
Things to ask a prospective health care provider’s office
- Is the doctor about to retire soon?
- How long have they been in practice?
- Does the health care provider have capacity for children, entire families or seniors?
- Where is the office located?
- Is there public transit nearby?
- Is there parking?
- Are there Laboratory or Pharmacy Services in the building?
- Is the office accessible, i.e.. have ramps or elevators for wheelchairs or walkers.
- Does the health care provider have hospital privileges?
- What are the options for after-hours or acute care?
- If your primary health care provider is not available, who should you expect to see?
- What’s the average time to get an appointment?
Meeting with your new health care provider applicant
- Observe the waiting room, be mindful of wait times, the number of patients
- The staff interaction with the patients and atmosphere
- Listen to the health care provider’s responses and if they meet your expectations
- Ask if there are any fees for forms etc.
- If the health care provider is part of a team, and what are their clinics policies.
Questions to ask your old health care provider before they close their practice
- What happens to your health records once you get a new provider. Will they be transferred to your new provider
- If you don’t have a new health care provider, where to your records go, how do you get access to them and is their a fee to get your records