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Thread: So hard to find a family doctor or a Nurse Practitioner :(

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    Smart Canuck matrix82's Avatar
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    Why is it so hard to find a family doctor or Nurse Practitioner?

    I am in Fredericton, NB. It seems impossible to find a doctor. I've followed leads on doctors that may be accepting. Called their offices to find out that they are not accepting. Only one office had a waiting list which I could be added to.

    I've called the Horizon Health Network 1-866 number to be put on the Fredericton waiting list. The process according to the answering machine is that a representative will call you back to register you for the waiting list. It's been two weeks and I can't even get a call back to be put on the waiting list, which I am told is over 4000 people long :S.

    I'm willing to drive an hour to have a family doctor. I have some health conditions that require monitoring.

    Any suggestions on how to find a family doctor or nurse practitioner? Should I just keep calling the different clinics every couple weeks to see if a spot has opened up?
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    Smart Canuck ninna's Avatar
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    omg I feel your pain! We are in the same boat here in Ontario and I am so pi$$ed off about it too. I cannot believe I don't have a family doctor anymore and there's no end in sight to the doctor shortage.

    For years I went to a local health clinic. I was a patient there and they had 2 full time docs on staff plus they had students doing rotational placements from the local university. Then I got pregnant and they referred me to a doc who was accepting new patients in his family practice. I was SO excited. He was young and his specialty was pregnant women and babies! I thought to myself, "How perfect! This is going to be our 'forever doc!' and he'll grow old with our family" Right? Right?

    Wrong. So wrong. He was our doc for 10 years. About 3 months after I reached a milestone birthday (aka. an age after which pregnancy becomes increasingly high-risk), I got a letter in the mail stating that me, DH and our kids were no longer his patients. The reason? he wants to focus on some aspect of his practice (for which none of us qualify or fit the profile). It's a complete load of crap. This schmuck delivers babies for a living and makes buckets of money doing it. I am 100% certain we got dumped from his practice because it was clear we weren't having any more kids and I'd also bet my next paycheque that if I had an unplanned pregnancy that he would suddenly find room in his practice for me. What a douchebag.

    Well guess what? The clinic where I used to be a patient is now full and won't take me back. There isn't a doctor within a 50 mile freakin' radius that is accepting new patients. I know this because I have personally called every stinkin' one of them. I can fill out an application and wait. And wait. And wait. And basically, I can wait and hope to goodness someone dies so I can get moved up on the list for a family doctor. It's just wrong on so many levels.

    Anyway, I am sorry. I wasn't trying to hijack your thread by going off on my tangent. It was just a perfectly timed thread because of course, I've got a medical issue this week and no freakin place to go with it other than the ER. *gah* Who wants to sit in the ER for 8 hours catching god-knows-what. argh. So frustrated!!!!

    I wish you luck with your search.
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    Smart Canuck matrix82's Avatar
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    It's very frustrating. A friend of mine waited 5 years and was 8 months pregnant before she was accepted as a patient and off the waiting list.
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    .
    Last edited by lecale; Sun, Jan 18th, 2015 at 04:08 PM.
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    If we could identify the correct decision-maker ( ie federal or provincial politician, or other decision-maker); people who are not able to find a doctor could phone once a day to report the problem.

    A few thousand phone calls per day might wake up the decision-makers.

    The seriousness and pervasiveness of the doctor shortage is not right in front of the correct decision-makers.

    Doctor Shortage article:
    http://www.fraserinstitute.org/publi....aspx?id=17360
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    OP, I think that networking may work for you. Like getting a good job, sending out hundreds of resumes doesn't work. But, discussing with friends, family, former coworkers helps in getting a job.

    Do you have a friend, coworker or family member with a family doctor? Can they put a good word in for you -- e.g. you are a great patient, always follow doctors orders, never misses appointments etc?

    @ Ninna, is there any family health teams, community health centres or nurse practitioner led clinics opening near you. That would be your best bet.
    http://www.health.gov.on.ca/transfor...ht_newfht.html
    http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/...chcloc_mn.html
    Health Care Connect
    http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/ms/he...onnect/public/
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    Smart Canuck matrix82's Avatar
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    Thanks for the ideas. I am going to try the networking idea. Sadly, only two friends have a doctor, the rest are on the waiting lists.
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    Mastermind Shwa Girl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matrix82 View Post
    Thanks for the ideas. I am going to try the networking idea. Sadly, only two friends have a doctor, the rest are on the waiting lists.
    Don't forget coworkers and family members. Especially if your coworkers or family members know a doctor or nurse. Hey, even ask your pharmacist. They are connected. They can put in a good word for you.

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    Junior Canuck Aimz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shwa Girl View Post
    Don't forget coworkers and family members. Especially if your coworkers or family members know a doctor or nurse. Hey, even ask your pharmacist. They are connected. They can put in a good word for you.
    My comment is in no way intended to undermine your advice, but I find it so sad and bordering on ridiculous that finding a doctor has to be approached the same way in which one would try to find an employment opportunity. Networking to find a family doctor? It's almost scandalous. And unfortunately it's a reflection of the times. It is also unfortunate that we pride ourselves on universal and free healthcare. I'm sure those waiting to find a family doctor pay the same taxes as every other contributing Canadian.

    It's also unnerving in that what exactly makes a good patient and why would a good word be needed? I don't know anyone who looks forward to paying the doctor a visit - people go because they are sick, not an ideal state for anyone. People deal with sickness differently - some would like to ignore their diagnosis altogether, which may lead to neglecting the doctor's orders. I would hope that doesn't count against them.

    The situation isn't going to get any better in Ontario anytime soon - worse, more likely, with the recent wage freeze the Liberals have decided to impose upon doctors. That'll hardly keep doctors within this province.
    Last edited by Aimz; Mon, May 21st, 2012 at 01:13 AM.

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    Smart Canuck matrix82's Avatar
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    Family members won't help, since the closest family member is 8 hrs away .
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    A lot of doctors aren't taking new patients because they want to avoid burn-out. Good luck finding a female doctor in your town that still has openings. Your best bet is to get on with a new doctor that is just starting up their practice. Once you are in the clinic's system, the other doctors will often see you too. We are lucky that we have two very good family doctors - I've been seeing the same one for 25 years. I am dreading the day that I need to seek out a new doctor.

    One problem that we have in our area, and it would be worse for those in small towns, is that doctors often move away. Gone are the days when your doctor would be in the same practice their whole career.

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    Smart Canuck matrix82's Avatar
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    There is a walk in clinic at least, but I've been told they don't do pap tests there, so I've had abnormal test results before, so I should be having that check-up every year. Also, most doctors require the test done every two years to get the Pill I am not sure how that would work in getting my Birth Control Pills. Me and hubby aren't ready for children yet.

    It's a city of 56,000, 100,000 if you count the surrounding areas, and is known for the shortage of doctors. I just can't get over I can't seem to get on the waiting list registry. Two messages- one via phone and one via email, and now three weeks since the phone message was left, still no call back. I wish they would just have the registry online where I could fill out the necessary information and submit it, be put on the list, instead of having to wait for a call back to register for the waiting list.

    I will keep talking to people, letting them know I am looking for a doctor and hopefully something may come out of that. Maybe I will take a course or two at the local univeristy, then I could use their health clinic. Something I've been thinking about..
    Last edited by matrix82; Mon, May 21st, 2012 at 05:49 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by matrix82 View Post
    There is a walk in clinic at least, but I've been told they don't do pap tests there, so I've had abnormal test results before, so I should be having that check-up every year. Also, most doctors require the test done every two years to get the Pill I am not sure how that would work in getting my Birth Control Pills. Me and hubby aren't ready for children yet.
    The community health clinic in Fredericton can do Paps.
    http://www.frederictoninfo.ca/record/HDC2130
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    Smart Canuck frugal50's Avatar
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    i finally found a family doctor after two year of actively looking, you have to find young doctors who are starting their practices..... they are the ones usually accepting new patients.

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    I have recently moved and there is no way I will give up my dr in my old city because I know how hard it is to find a new one. I will happily drive the 100km to see her! I am dreading the day she retires.

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