4 Million Canadians without a family doctor

I can see why, in my area ‘good’ doctors are hard to come by and none are accepting new patients. I found one but waited 2.5 months for the initial appointment.


A new report from Statistics Canada says an estimated 4.1 million Canadians aged 12 or older are without a family doctor.

The 2007 Canadian Community Health Survey found that among those who have no primary-care physician, about 78 per cent seek medical care elsewhere.

The federal agency says 64 per cent reported going to walk-in or appointment clinics, 12 per cent went to a hospital emergency room, while about 10 per cent went to a community health centre.

The remaining 14 per cent chose to use other types of health-care facilities or services such as hospital out-patient clinics, telephone health lines or doctor’s offices.

The president of the College of Family Physicians of Canada says walk-in clinics, emergency departments and other alternatives are a good safety valve in the system for those unable to access medical care any other way.

But Dr. Ruth Wilson says they are not the best choice for patients who need long-term management of chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Where Canadians without a family doctor went for health care varied across the country. In Ontario and most of the western provinces, the choice was a clinic. In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, nearly one-quarter of residents sought help in a hospital emergency room.

The use of community health centres by those who did not have a regular medical doctor was significantly higher in Quebec and in Newfoundland and Labrador than in the rest of Canada.

The annual survey takes the pulse of 65,000 Canadians on a wide range of health issues.

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