With a current doctor shortage in some larger towns and a surplus in others, finding a family doctor can be a different experience depending on where you choose to make your home. Wherever you decide to live in Northwestern Ontario, you should take the necessary steps to ensure you can access health care when you need it.
Ontario has a publicly-funded health care system available through the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). A resident of Ontario must have a health card to show that he or she is entitled to health care services paid for by OHIP. Newcomers should expect to wait approximately three months until they receive their Health Card identification that will allow them to receive health care services. While you are waiting for your documentation, it is recommended that all newcomers obtain private health insurance coverage.
When it comes to finding a doctor, your first step should be to contact your local family doctor’s office to ask if he or she is accepting new patients. Other ways to find a doctor include:
- Ask family or friends if their doctor is accepting new patients
- Register with Health Care Connect
- Contact the Nurse’s Registry
- Contact the province’s College of Physicians and Surgeons which provides a list of registered family doctors, as well as neighborhood clinics and hospitals, who keep a list of doctors who are accepting new patients.
Until you find a doctor, take advantage of local walk-in clinics and public health units. If you require urgent medical attention, please visit the Emergency department of your local hospital.