How do you find a GP anyhow ?

About 9 weeks ago I crashed on my bike. I don’t want to get into it because I come out looking like a moron who can’t steer straight.

I hurt my hand, most notably my middle finger. Two weeks ago, that is, seven weeks after having crashed, and I still don’t have full movement of the finger. Grrr. So I break down and decide to see a doctor.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a doctor.. a GP. I don’t even know how to find one. I do remember something about a CLSC hotline you can call to get in touch with a nurse.

I find the number on the web and give it a ring. After about a 20 minute wait I have a fantastic discussion with a very kind nurse who points me in the right direction.

Without an appointment, I get in line at 8am on a Saturday morning and THREE hours later, I get to see a doctor. She looks at the finger, hands me a slip to get it x-rayed and out I was not but 5 minutes after I walked in.

The x-ray was quick as anything to get, the next appointment with the orthopaedist two weeks after that.

A 5 minute chat with the orthopaedist and he tells me its fine, its probably broken but he can’t be entirely sure but that it doesn’t matter as there’s nothing that can be done. He tells me to “suck it up” and work it in hot and cold water until it eventually gets better which could be months away. Months!

The good news is this doesn’t affect me really as the finger is stiff and I can’t make a fist with it. But I don’t plan on getting into any bench clearing brawls anytime soon.

But this entire affair got me thinking: How does one find a GP ? The GP you have, how long do you normally wait before s/he can see you ?

Ideally, I’d like a GP that does sports and understands that saying “stay off the bike” should only be uttered in life and death situations. ;-)

So I am curious, how did you find your GP ?

11 Comments so far

  1. mare (unregistered) on October 31st, 2007 @ 1:05 pm

    Ask everybody you know if they have a GP. If they have get those phone numbers and call. “Do you take new patients?” The assistant will answer: “No”. Say that you got the phone number from patient X. Sometimes they’ll call you back.
    If they don’t work, call the next GP. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

    It worked for me, but I had the advantage that I actually regularly need a GP. Or maybe that’s a disadvantage.

    O, and write a letter to your MP and ask why the province refuses to issue billing numbers to new doctors who want to work on the island?

    I can give you the answer: because it’s cheaper. If there is a shortage of doctors, less people see doctors, so less money has to be spent on doctors. Okay, more people will die because their early symptons aren’t diagnosed but that will save even more money. Unless you have money and can go to private clinics and the US.

    Gee, I start to sound like Marla.

  2. tornwordo (unregistered) on October 31st, 2007 @ 1:52 pm

    I’d really like to know too. I went to the same clinic for 3 different things. Since they had my file I asked if I could have a GP. They said no. But I could still come in during walk in times and request which doctor I wanted to wait for. I still don’t get why I can’t get a GP, but this is close enough I guess.

  3. Vila H. (unregistered) on October 31st, 2007 @ 8:46 pm

    You have a GP, Mare? (Blinks.) I’ll give you twenty bucks for a referral.

  4. Laiya (unregistered) on October 31st, 2007 @ 9:25 pm

    You have to sign up with your CLSC to be a patient of one of the doctors there. That’s the case for my neighborhood CLSC.

  5. mare (unregistered) on October 31st, 2007 @ 9:44 pm

    Vila: you misuderstood what I wrote. Ask evrybody you know. Not bribe them.

  6. zura (unregistered) on November 1st, 2007 @ 10:36 am

    The bribe is for the secretary at the clinic, not you, Mare. :) I lucked out somehow and got a GP through calling the clinic of a friend of mine and asking if they had any doctors taking new patients. I’m not super excited about the doctor I got, but at least I have one. Before this, I used to either go to the CLSC or the walk-in clinics at Guy and Ste. Catherine or the one outside metro Vendome. But you will get served whichever doctor they can spare.

  7. tarteaucitron (unregistered) on November 1st, 2007 @ 5:24 pm

    I, too, had to use the walk-in services at my local CLSC and at Guy and St-Catherine for more than a year, being treated like a fast food order (‘cept it generally takes 2 hours), until finally I enlisted the help of a SOCIAL WORKER to help me locate a GP that really takes new patients, because my situation was getting desperate.

    Before then, I have asked around, I have asked friends to ask around, and I have been given big, long phone lists of GPs to try, but all in vain.

    An added hassle of not having a GP is that, when asked by a specialist who gives you a treatment which doctor referred you, I can never remember which of the 10+ doctors it was. I missed the time when, in another province, I had a GP who knew me for years, and I’m glad I finally and only recently found one.

  8. elvi (unregistered) on November 2nd, 2007 @ 12:09 am

    Get pregnant, and find a family practitioner. Most of them will take you on if you’re pregnant, and then they don’t dump you once you deliver. Plus, all your kids get a doctor, too. If you’re male, sorry, no advice.

  9. Alan (unregistered) on November 2nd, 2007 @ 8:11 pm

    As a former Ontarian, I don’t think Quebecers realize how dismal the medicare situation is here. I recent found a great GP downtown who IS taking new patients and speaks French and English. But in all honesty folks, Quebec doctors earn 40% less than their counterparts in most of the rest of Canada. So what do you think happens?

    Well, think of 10 companies in the same city, and they all pay the same, except 1 company. Who do you think works at that company? All of the losers who couldn’t get a job at the other 9.

    It’s the same thing with our doctors here in Quebec. Most of the doctors here either are here for family or lifestyle reasons, but the truly talented and ambitious doctors leave for greener and more lucrative pastures.

    I have lived in Toronto and in 2 smaller towns outside of Toronto and in each case, I found a GP who was infinitely better than any of the others I’ve dealt with here in Quebec, the exception being the new guy I just discovered and am so far, very happy with.

  10. Marla Comm (unregistered) on November 2nd, 2007 @ 8:17 pm

    Sorry to sound so cynical, but finding anything you need in this city borders on the impossible, unless you love junk food and melancholy ballad, have a perverse obsession with potholes, traffic jams and collapsing underpasses or are a masochist dying to put yourself through days without power or water.

    As I said in another comment, finding certain food and other products here is impossible. As I write, I am in the process of finding a clinic where I can get a flu shot this week without having to pay a clinic administration fee (which just went up). The CLSC isn’t giving them till later in the month. My workplace is offering them, but not till the last day of the month. Even the clinic that charges the fee is iffy because it cut its hours.

    Elvi may be onto something with her advice to get pregnant because our provincial government, which wrecked our healthcare system with reforms that are basically austerity measures, is literally paying women to have babies and will do anything to encourage them to do so.


  11. tarteaucitron (unregistered) on November 4th, 2007 @ 9:31 am

    Elvia and Maria: I can confirm your suggestion (of getting pregnant to find a GP) works, but here’s the catch. It’s already hard enough to find a gynecologist or obstetrician in this city, as you might know already, but I’m told it would even be HARDER for one to accept you as a new patient if you are pregnant, because it simply means more work for them.

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