A doctor in Toronto?
June 21, 2006 10:34 AM   Subscribe

How do you find a doctor in Toronto?

Asking around is a good idea of course, except that most people I know are, like myself, fairly new to Toronto, and don't have doctors themselves. So how does one find a doctor here without friends as resources?Any personal recommendations would be awesome.
posted by Newbornstranger to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I was advised by my family doctor to call the teaching hospitals to see if there are any doctors there accepting patients.
posted by phoenixc at 10:54 AM on June 21, 2006

It's tough actually.

Check the clinics in hospitals - they either have doctors who are accepting or have a list of local doctors who are accepting new patients. Also, hospital walk-in clinics may have the same list.

I know they have a list like this at St Joe's, so I assume other hospitals do too.

Or - I just found this - go to Doctor Search.

It seems, however, that most good doctors are full up. The two family doctors I've had in Toronto are... underwhelming. Out kids' pediatrician is amazing though. It's no surprise that I see 17-year-old "kids' in there.
posted by GuyZero at 10:59 AM on June 21, 2006

The CPSO doctor search GuyZero links to is a good first step. Plan an hour or two to do the calls, since the database gets out of date on the "accepting new patients" flag. Whenever an office tells you Dr. X isn't accepting new patients, ask them if they're aware of any doctors that are.

Don't worry too much about location -- if you can get there, it's good enough, it doesn't have to be in the same neighbourhood as you.
posted by mendel at 11:32 AM on June 21, 2006

I agree that the CPSO search is extremely useful (although it seems slow to load today). In late December 2005, I spent an hour poking through the database and printing out prospects, then started calling. I got an appointment with a family physician close to home and work on my second phone call, and he's working out quite well. After hearing all the horror stories about how hard it was to find a family doctor (I had resigned myself to using walk-in clinics), I was shocked at how quickly I found someone.

I agree that reputation is important, so if you can get a personal recommendation, great! But location and hospital access are important, too. All else being equal, you probably don't want a doctor whose hospital privileges are at an institution way across town (well, not if you take public transit like I do.)

You should also look at graduation date as a rough estimate of age. My short list included doctors who were relatively recent graduates to those who graduated no more than 15 years ago. My former family doctor retired very suddenly, and the physician who took over her practice was very elderly and halting, taking about an hour to do a straightforward annual checkup. I didn't want to find a good doctor who was just 10 years away from retirement, so I did limit by date.

Good luck!
posted by rosemere at 12:11 PM on June 21, 2006

If you provide some details on location, you might get some recommendations here. There are posts on the Toronto livejournal community looking for doctor recommendations, frequently, as well.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:04 PM on June 21, 2006

I would go with a walk-in clinic. That's what I did. They keep you on file, and its just about the same as seeing a 'normal' doctor.
It's quite revolting - the state of availability for healthcare.
posted by Radio7 at 1:09 PM on June 21, 2006

I would go with a walk-in clinic. That's what I did. They keep you on file, and its just about the same as seeing a 'normal' doctor.

It is until you end up with a chronic condition, or even something that takes a few swings to try to identify and treat. At best you have to rearrange your schedule around the doctor's one day a week in the clinic, have a hard time finding out about negative lab results (clinics are all about "if you don't hear from us assume it's fine"), and I'm not sure what you'd do when it came to doctors' hospital privileges.

And good luck getting a physical from a walk-in clinic!

Walk-in clinics aren't meant to replace family doctors, and they know people want to use them like that, and they do what they can to avoid it.
posted by mendel at 1:28 PM on June 21, 2006

Radio7, I used a walk-in clinic as my regular doctor for several years (having believed the moaning about a doctor shortage) and it isn't comparable at all. You don't always get the same doctor, the range of competence varies, and the clinic is really not eager to give you the full range of care, such as annual physicals.

Walk-in clinics are good for immediate care that stops short of true emergency requirements, or to get you the cortisone prescription you need until your dermatologist comes back from vacation. But you need a family doctor and you can get one in Toronto.
posted by rosemere at 2:28 PM on June 21, 2006

There are plenty of doctors in Toronto. My family doctor is accepting patients (according to Doctor search) - he's in York/Weston/Keele area. He's great with kids, though I found him too pushy/fatherly to get on with him as well when I was older (maybe because he's my father's age, and has known me too long). My mum likes him. If you want a name/number, please email.
posted by jb at 6:27 PM on June 21, 2006

From today's Star: Only one in ten doctors is accepting new patients.
posted by GuyZero at 6:28 AM on June 22, 2006

I had no problems finding a doctor downtown...until the receptionist found out I had a BC CareCard, at which point I was politely asked to leave. So if you have an Ontario card, I don't think it would be too difficult.
posted by reformedjerk at 9:12 AM on June 22, 2006

The 1 in 10 is for all of Ontario - from the article: "The Toronto region has the highest percentage of family physicians accepting new patients at 21.7 per cent".

It's ridiculous that health care isn't honoured nationally. It's a national law and all the provinces get payments from the federal government (even Alberta - theirs were threatened should they go ahead with more privatisation). Your health care should be honoured no matter where you are in Canada. And none of this 6 months required residency. If you are a citizen/landed immigrant/otherwise qualified, you should have health care the minute you step in the country.
posted by jb at 9:25 AM on June 23, 2006

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