One of the great challenges people encounter when moving to Vancouver is finding a family doctor. You will probably find that your preferred GP is not accepting new patients because they are already so busy.
This is a well known dilemma, which the province is taking steps to remedy. A GP For Me is a joint effort of the Government of BC and Doctors of BC as part of an integrated approach to provide primary health care services for all British Columbians.
Meanwhile, here are a few avenues to help you find a primary health care provider:
Ask for referrals
If you have friends or family in your new area, ask if they can refer you to their own family doctor. You may get lucky and be accepted based on their existing relationship.
Workmates or neighbours might have some useful suggestions too.
Other professionals, such as chiropractors or skin care specialists will have relationships with GP’s that you could also explore.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons website offers an advanced search where you can include the criteria “Accepting new patients”.
Note: Physicians are responsible for keeping their profile with the College updated, including whether or not they are accepting new patients. The College frequently reminds physicians of this responsibility throughout the year but cannot be responsible for guaranteeing accuracy at any single point in time.
The website also allows “language” as part of the search criteria. While all physicians in BC are required to be proficient in English, many are also fluent in other languages.
Visit a walk-in clinic
Walk-in clinics offer patients access to both primary and speciality healthcare services. If you are visiting a walk-in clinic, ask the doctor if they would be willing to take you on as a patient.
Care Point Medical Centre operates several full-service walk-in and medical clinics within Vancouver and Victoria.
Their centres are open extended hours, 364 days per year, and their physicians provide both booked appointments and non-booked appointments for patient convenience.
walkinhealth.ca is a website that offers a directory of walk-in medical clinics as well as health related information. Use the website to find a clinic, and contact that clinic directly for more information.
Of course, in case of an emergency, go the the emergency department at your closest hospital or call 911.
If you have any other suggestions I would love to hear from you.