Finding a family doctor in BC is tough these days. Here are some tips to increase your chances of getting the medical attention you need.
Get Started With 8-1-1
For medical questions, consider calling 8-1-1 to speak with a nurse. 8-1-1's a free-of-charge provincial health information and advice phone line available in British Columbia. You can also ask their advice on finding a doctor.
TELUS also has a MyCare app that lets you see a doctor, counsellor, or dietician straight from your phone
Use These Search Tools
Find doctors accepting new patients by using the search tools on the Pathways Medical Care Directory
Visit MediMap to locate the nearest walk-in clinics and wait times
Your local Division of Family Practice may be able to direct you to a doctor
The British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals also has a directory of nurse practitioners. Search the directory for nurse practitioners in your community or call 604-742-6200.
Make Your Walk-In Permanent
While I know attending a walk-in clinic can be VERY frustrating, some people have been successful in establishing a regular relationship with a particular provider in these clinics.
There’s been a custom that once someone has visited the same clinic 3 times, they will be taken on under this arrangement, and though practices vary by clinic it is generally true that the more you visit the better chance of establishing a relationship that mirrors that of having a family doctor.
At certain clinics you can also view a doctor’s schedule and book appointments ahead of time to avoid long waits, which again helps provide more of a family doctor dynamic. And if you find a particular doctor you like, ask them what can be done to become a regular of theirs.
In any case, visiting the same doctor at a walk-in clinic multiple times increases your chance of establishing a relationship with this doctor that can function like that you may have with a family doctor. Walk-in clinics often have schedules of their doctors’ shifts available, so you can schedule appointments with them on an ongoing basis.
Ask your family or friends to introduce you to their own family doctor. Sometimes a doctor may take you on referral from an existing patient.
If you're visiting another health care provider, such as a specialist, ask them if they know of any family doctors that are accepting patients. You can also ask a local pharmacist.
If you're visiting a walk-in clinic, ask the doctor if they would be willing to take you on as a patient
Urgent and primary care centres are available with extended hours for same-day, non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses who are unable to see a family doctor or health care provider
For major medical emergencies which must be treated immediately, call 9-1-1 straight away or head to a hospital nearby
If you are expecting and have no delivery plan, visit Pregnancy Vancouver or phone 604-569-2010
To find more community resources, click here!
-Spencer van Vloten