Finding a physician in the Province of Quebec, especially in Montreal, especially if you are a newcomer, can soon become a nightmare if you don’t have a clue where to look for a health professional.
You can always launch a YellowPages search but the number and nature of results under “doctor” might be discouraging. You will get a clearer view with the directory of physicians published by the Quebec College of Medicine. You won’t avoid the headache though, because you’ll have to call the clinics one by one, only to be answered each time that they do not take new patients…
But you are not doomed to suffer! Here are some tips to help you ease the pain:
1. If you do call clinics searching for a doctor, insist for them to give you the contact of one who does take new patients. You may rebound for a while from clinic to clinic, but there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself a physician in the end.
2. Another way is, as often in Canada, to use your network: ask your friends or colleagues for a formal recommendation to their family doctor.
3. The best option is to contact your CLSC (Local Centre of Community Services): among other missions, they have been charged by the Government to put you on a waiting list based on the priority of your need for medical care. If you have a chronic disorder or if your request concerns a child under three, the waiting time may be reduced from around six months to three weeks.
4. In the meanwhile, the same CLSC provides medical care to people without a family doctor for free (with the Quebec Health Insurance Card) and often without an appointment. You may have to wait, but it is the easiest way of seeing a doctor rapidly and without having to pay the sometimes expensive fees of the private clinics with no appointment.
5. Of course, in case of an extreme emergency, you should call 911 or go the Emergency at the nearest hospital!
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