It might actually be easier to find a needle in a haystack than to find a family doctor in Ottawa—and searching for a doctor is the last thing you need when your kids are sick. Start looking now, be prepared to have patience, and use these tips to try to make the search a little easier.
As a first step, get on the list at Ontario’s Health Care Connect Program, a centralized repository of people who need a family doctor. It won’t get you immediate results, but if a doctor begins taking patients, you’ll hear about it, and they do their best to match the neediest patients with doctors first. The sooner you’re on the list, the better.
Next, check in at the hospital closest to you. They’re often the first to know when new offices are opening up, and when those offices do open, you’ll want to be first in line to enroll. Drop by and see if they have any insider information, and if not, drop by again and often. Check this list of local hospitals for the one closest to you or your workplace. And if you’re lucky enough to already be seeing a hospital specialist, ask them if they can refer you to a GP that they have a working relationship with.
If you’re really diligent, you can also try the public register at the College of Physicians, which allows you to search for all doctor’s offices within a given area. Give each a call and see if anyone is taking new patients, and don’t be discouraged if the answer is no. For offices close to you, ask if they have a waiting list. A key tip: see if anyone you know is a patient at your target clinics, as doctors will sometimes take on a new family or two if they are recommended by an existing patient.
Lastly, if you can’t find a regular doctor, your best offence might be a good defence. Try accessing one of these Health and Wellness Centres in town which focus on preventative medicine. At the very least, they’ll help reduce the stress of the doctor search until you finally have one.
Searching for more ways to keep them safe and healthy? We’ve got a list of Must-Take Safety Classes in Ottawa; from prenatal classes to car seat safety, we’ve got the lowdown.
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