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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

Now that we're on the medical program...

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

New learning curve here...the medical system is somewhat...ahem..different in Canada to what we were used to in the States. My apologies if someone has had a thread on this in the past.

Now that we are on the BC medical care and have our Care Cards, I am discovering that finding a dr.that will take us, is not that easy.

Locals tell me, "oh try the walk-in clinics...our dr. is not taking any new patients."

I don't want to do walk-ins where you can get a different dr. every time, for the simple reason that our youngest is asthmatic, and it is better to have him under the care of one dr. who will get to know his pattern, and be willing to work with us in treating him when he gets sick.

Any nice, local drs. in the Langley-area that some of the members living here, happen to know would still take us as a family?

Thanks for any advice. :blink:

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Harry

Methinks the lady is a diplomat. Bet you you had no trouble getting a doctor in the USA and neither were you bankrupted when you found one.

Would you believe, Ingrid, that most Canadians swear by this system infinitely smore strongly than they commit to any religion.....amazing eh? Many in Canada believe that it's creator, Tommy Douglas, is the greatest Canadian ever. I'm not too sure whether any of these great believers have had to wait 4 months for an MRI yet, though.

To this very day I have not figured out whether it is ignorance, mindless obstinacy or moral conviction gone utterly overboard. And to think that Harold Wilson died in 1995..not exactly hugely missed...certainly not by Southern Africans. Here his ghost, duly exorcised from England, lives on with his Unions and his National Health.....

The people serving the system are superb, and very dedicated, but the system is so very broken....and they just will not confess.

On the other hand, the moment the local society tries anything that looks even vaguely like private medicine, they behave in such unbelievable disgusting avaricious fashion, trying to get rich in just three consultations. Thereby they strengthen the hand of the devout socialists. Amazing...such a sophisticated and highly eductaed society, utterly unable to strike a sensible balance.

I just don't know...and I don't know what to tell you about finding a doctor. It seems to happen eventually.

I'd much prefer the country to have three or more major medical insurance companies competing head to head for clients, with a medical system properly paid out of that insurance RATHER THAN a single mismanaged non-competitive ailing government-run collective insurance scheme paid from my taxes whether I like it or not, forcing doctors to leave the country in frustration with the broken system. However, that's just me...and I AM benefiting disproportionately from the system. I refuse to defend it, though.

This is such a key issue for "newcomers". I have therefore pinned it to the top of "settling In"

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debbieD

The walk-in clinics are a good place to start sometimes. I went to the same one for 3 or 4 years, and always asked for the same doctor (they usually have a sign-in sheet where you can say what doctor you want to see, or phone ahead and make sure your preferred doctor is available). My regular doctor decided to open his own practice, and I finally had a family doctor. What's great is that I got to check out several doctors first, at the same place, and found him to be the best for our family, so I wasn't going to a stranger.

One can also ask around whenever you're in a group setting, if anyone knows of a doctor whose taking new patients.

Good luck, Ingrid! :)

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Adele

Ingrid,

I only know of one South African doctor that is taking patients but he is in the Cloverdale area. I will suggest that if you go to a walk in clinic that a South African doctor is working at, you can always ask them where they are practicing, and if they will take you. Alternatively, you can come through and ask this Doctor who he can refer you to, and that way you can get into see a doctor in your area.

Another option is to go to the site for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia. I have done the search for you for the Langley area. It is 6 pages long, but scroll through and see who you would like to visit. Maybe one is taking new patients but has not informed the College yet.

GOOD LUCK!!!!

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

Thank you for all the input.

I will most definitely report back as I start a search for a doctor...and hopefully find one!

The walk-in-clinics (surgeries) in OZ weren't too bad if one got the same dr. so hopefully we can repeat your experience here for the time-being, Debbie.

Thanks Adele - will look at that list.

Harry, dear Harry what can I say? It's not What's Up Doc?

It's Where the heck are they? it seems.

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samper

After having lived in Canada for two years, I have finally found the energy to search for a family doctor. I had to dig deep! My first words of advice: search for a doctor while you’re healthy. When you’re ill, you won’t have enough time or the energy to do so. The way I’ve approached this, is to search for family doctors taking new patients where we live. If, like me, you have a long commute to the office, you might want to consider getting a doctor close to work, rather than close to home. But I think it makes more sense to get one close to home, especially if you have or plan to have kids. Also, when you’re really ill, you’re more likely to be at home. I use the walk-in clinics close to the office for the odd doctor’s visit during working hours.

You can search online for doctors taking new patients. It looks like most, if not all, provinces, have websites. Just Google college of physicians and surgeons of ontario (substitute Ontario with your province’s name). Here’s the Ontario site: College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario – Doctor Search.

The information may not always be up to date. A doctor not taking patients could still show as one that is, but it’s a good start. Make a shortlist of doctors and start phoning their practices to see if they’re taking patients and would be willing to see you. There are a number of factors that you could consider in putting together your shortlist:

  • How far is he/she from your home?
  • How old is he/she?. If the doctor is close to retirement, you might have to go through the process again in a few years.
  • Does he/she have any past findings (i.e. did he/she screw up while doctoring someone else)?

Don’t waste too much time on the shortlist. More than likely, nobody on your shortlist will be taking new patients, so all the criteria will go out the window after your first few phone calls.

If you call a doctor’s office and he/she is not taking new patients, ask the doctor’s staff if they know of other doctors in the area that are.

I managed to find a doctor who’s opening a new practice in my area. After filling in a form, we’ll be meeting this weekend to see if it’s a good fit. What does that mean? I don’t really know. Maybe if a patient has specific medical problems that the doctor is not very experienced in, he/she might not want to take the patient. Or maybe it’s about personalities and different approaches. Anyway, I think it’s worth while having such a meeting. You don’t want to register with a doctor when the two of you are clearly not on the same wavelength.

Another approach is to get a colleague, family member, friend or neighbour to ask (beg?) their doctor to take you as a patient. I didn’t go down this road, but one might be more successful finding a good doctor this way.

Maybe there's a doctor on the forum with more advice? But, given the shortage of doctors, they're probably far too busy to read this forum. ;)

Good luck!

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

We have actually been very fortunate.

Found a clinic in Langley that took new patients, plus I found a wonderful SA dr. in Smithers, BC - I can check in with her on my monthly trips if need be. Few mths ago had some blood work done at a local lab - was treated extremely well. Staff were friendly and professional.

Hubby's knee packed up on a job recently - old rugby injury, so is now in the system, going through steps from first dr./x-rays, to orthopaedic surgeon (who now wants him to have an MRI) : taken maybe 2 mths to get this far, and we're waiting for the MRI appt. I guess this is what folks have talked about - the system can be slow with such appts.

As far as the care is concerned: absolutely no complaints so far.

I do find medicine more expensive here though. My BP medicine cost me around US$8 for 2 mths in the US; here I am paying over Cdn $50 for the same stuff. (Drs visits were more expensive though as we had to make co-payments so paying more for medication is not really an issue then.)

All in all, we are finding the medical care here good. ;)

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Harry

Ingrid,

Welcome to the "Northern European Welfare" state that some people refer to when they criticize Canada. You are going to wait up to 6 months for that MRI....no amount of paying will change that. So you go to the two tier system that all the Liberals and NDP voters here deny that we have. Those of us "in the know" call it by its real name...the United States of America. There you then pay for it.....hence, "two tier sytem"

Canadians have an absolute unthinking mental block on this subject. They will die rather than confess the darn thing is broken. We are a nation defined by

1. a National Health system and

2. NOT being American

To me that is utterly sad. This country deserves better from its people.

Ironically:

Canadians go to the US to get their "critical non-emergency" Health Care

Americans come to Canada to buy their "afforadable" medicine.

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KateyLee

We still don't have a family doctor. I admit that I haven't spent as much time as I should have. But none of the doctors near me are accepting new patients and the Ontario College website is outdated. I also hardly ever get sick, so I would have to try and make an appointment just to get a file open somewhere.

I hate walk-ins though. I would prefer a personal recommendation for somebody, rather than going to see the only doctor who has an opening.

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Alwyn

At least you can get an MRI. In South-Africa, you'd be lucky if they do it before your autopsy.

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robert
At least you can get an MRI. In South-Africa, you'd be lucky if they do it before your autopsy.

Well Alwyn, I don't know about such delays. Here in Pietermaritzburg with a good medical aid and private hospitals such as St Annes and Mediclinic, you can get very good treatment very quickly. Likewise, for cardiac cases one can have a bypass op at almost 24 hours notice at Entabeni in Durban.

I fairly recently had to be booked in at hospital for a relatively small ailment and received prompt service. Likewise my 6 year old daughter developed hip problems and ended up in hospital. The morning went like this: at 9 am walked into Medicross:by 9 15am referred to x-ray: by 10 am a bed was booked at paediatric ward at St Annes. By 10 30am orthopod came in to see her: by 11am ultrasounds done :thereafter booked into paeds with excellent care. Now that was service! From what I have read I doubt whether we will get that type of service in Canada. Maybe I am wrong?

Having said that I still can't wait to get to Vancouver (and the high house prices :)). 27 months, two trips to Vancouver , one converted law degree and still waiting.......

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Harry
Having said that I still can't wait to get to Vancouver (and the high house prices :)).

Take a look here. Things have levelled out. The market is now flooded with properties that are not moving. We could see it up the road from us. They struggled forever to sell, and dropped the price.

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jen1

Maybe things are better in Ontario with regard to the MRI, or maybe it is just my little hamlet North of Toronto, but I only had to wait 5 weeks for my MRI performed at the local hospital 5 mins up the road. Although I have done my fair share of waiting for other medical things to be performed downtown!

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Matisse
I fairly recently had to be booked in at hospital for a relatively small ailment and received prompt service. Likewise my 6 year old daughter developed hip problems and ended up in hospital. The morning went like this: at 9 am walked into Medicross:by 9 15am referred to x-ray: by 10 am a bed was booked at paediatric ward at St Annes. By 10 30am orthopod came in to see her: by 11am ultrasounds done :thereafter booked into paeds with excellent care. Now that was service! From what I have read I doubt whether we will get that type of service in Canada. Maybe I am wrong?

Unfortunately I believe you are correct. ;)

Unless your daughter's hip problem was of a very serious nature, the most likely scenario in Canada would be that the doctor would refer her for different scans and tests, for which she would have to wait for don't know how long before it is done. And then thereafter treatment would start.

To be fair, your daughter was treated in a private medical facility. What would have happened if you took her to a public hospital in SA? :)

Canada's public medical service is much better than the public health service in SA today, but it can't compare with the private medical service in SA.

My wife's doctor recently send her for various tests to a medical specialist. After numerous attempts to obtain the test results from the specialist's office, she has now stopped trying. :(

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Marius O

Ten days after arriving in Canada in Aug last year, I went to NYC to visit a friend from Cape Town who was there for a while. On the saturday night an old eye injury resurfaced and I found myself in one of NYC's emergency rooms. Which one, I couldn't tell you as both my eyes were glued shut due to the pain.

Anyhoo, I waited a few minutes before one of the attending docs came round, forced my eye open and had a root around. Within the hour the opthalmologist arrived, rooted around and didn't commit to a diagnosis. Luckily I knew what was wrong anyway and explained what I'd like and she subsequently wrote a script.

Both my friend and I had lunch in the hospital, they brought us each some fried chicken and veg. Not too bad. The whole thing took about 2 hours I suppose. And it was free! After being seen by the docs etc they refered me to the accounts dep, I showed them my passport and explained I lived in Canada but didn't have my Alberta Health card yet etc. The kindly old lady at the desk just said, "Honey, goan enjoy the rest of your weekend. It's on us." Nice eh?

The follow ups at the Royal Alex hospital in Edmonton were infinitely worse. Waiting 4 hours the first time and having to wait the same amount of time the second visit, even though I had an appointment. The nurse had a hissy fit when, once she'd told me she couldn't find my name in the appointment book (or my file), I decided not to hang around and spend the afternoon with the delightful first nations and their drunken brawl induced injuries. What a fiasco.

Then, once winter struck, we got flu. After a never-ending wait for Dr. Wang Tai or whatever, and then having to explain to him (almost in picture form) what exactly was wrong with me, I phoned my sister in Calgary and bitched. She sent me to the local chemist and made them phone her for a script. Luckily she's a damn good doc and knows her stuff. If it wasn't for the family connection I think I'd have to have sacrificed a lung to the wonderful health care system in Canada.

I was watching Sky News once back in SA and some old goat was complaining about having waited for 14 years for a knee op. My mom, in Bloem, was at the orthopedic surgeon on the monday morning with her aches and pains and on tuesday morning she went in for her hip replacement. Cost her R450 for the raised plastic toilet seat. The rest of the R135 000 bill was taken care of by her medical aid.

There are, thankfully, still one or two things here in SA that work. I think the Canadians are being VERY stupid not to consider a parallel private health care system!

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Karen

While the health care system in Canada is nothing to write home about re the long and often dangerous delays in waiting for appropriate tests and even treatments, it can be pretty good too. It is all a matter of luck- who you access and the nature of your illness/condition.

In time, you learn to 'play' the system. You learn which are the better doctors, the better hospitals the best times to go to emerg( if you can wait , that is) etc. If you can do this, you will find the picture not as bleak as it is often( correctly ) painted.

Once you find a family doctor, ask where they have hospital privileges. If they have them at one of the large teaching institutions, chances are that you will get specialist treatment sooner. Here in Ontario, the wait time for MRI's is certainly not as bad as it used to be and many private clinics, which are funded by the govt, are appearing, which has lessened the load on the hospitals.

My Mom in SA, on a private med aid system, often has to fight for them to pay for her meds ( which run out) or even tests she really needs. Here, I have bloodwork as often as my doc deems necessary and pay nothing for it. I went to my gyn and had a uterine biospy in her rooms and she called the result through as soon as she got it back. I get all the CT scans etc I have to have at no cost and I go to hospitals with state of the art equipment.

When my son was a kid and had treatment at Sick Kids, it was nothing short of superb. I have had friends tell me that cancer treatment at Princess Margaret is cutting edge and that they are treated with great care and compassion and well followed. Others who have had babies at Mount Sinai can't stop praising the nursinig staff and everything else they experienced there.

Still, I have no illusions - I have experienced both the best and worst of our health care system and not for one minute do I think it is in a good state. However, private health care will slowly but surely creep into Canada and I believe that in time, it will have to exist alongside the public system, just as it does in Australia.

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Harry
I think the Canadians are being VERY stupid not to consider a parallel private health care system!

Marius, on that count we are in 100% agreement. We just need to figure out how to hurt the drooling sharks that are already hovering over the septic gangrenous legs of the Canadian Universal Healthcare System. Somehow, the socialist society over here generates extreme sharks.

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KateyLee

Don't you think the government would have to DROP taxes if a two tier health care system was introduced? I understand that in South Africa the idea (in principle rather than practice maybe) is to help fund development for those who don't earn enough to pay taxes. So those who do have money have to pay similar tax to Canada, but have to pay for medical aid and private security on top of that.

I don't think it would be an improvement for the same idea to be implemented here!

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DougieFaure

In Ottawa we have the ambigious advantage (off course optional, unless you cannot wait the 3- 6months) of driving across to Gatineau, Quebec and paying cash for an MRI - I think is about $800. And the turn-over is less than 3 days. *

By the way - not sure if this is an urban myth - but I hear in Toronto - you can go in as "Fluffy" and get a cash MRI - it seems the hospitals are "leasing" time on their machines to vetinarians on the slow shifts. The recipients of the MRI pictires do not seem to "howl" too much about this!!!!

As to the political considerations / ethics - that is so intertwined within the Quebec issue, that one can not discuss the one without the other.

* for those not aware of this - BC is getting "fined" for allowing "for profit" clinics.

So I am basically with Harry on allowing honest insurance competition.

I have a GP - but dread the day he retires. Waiting list here is also horrendous, for getting onto a patient list.

Dougie

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

I can report back some good news - we found a local SA dr. who took us as patients, plus prior to that, the walk-in clinics were not bad at all.

On the other hand, I can see now what you all mean when you say referrals can take a longggg time...

Hubby has a knee injury that needed x-rays. No problem. Happened in a few days.

Then dr. referred him to an orthopedic surgeon - that took a few weeks of waiting.

Not so bad we thought.

Once he saw this guy, he was told he needs to go for an MRI and they'd call us for the appointment.

Waited a few wks. Then phone call came...

Appointment is for the 26th July, 2007. :rolleyes:

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Spy1

Hi Everyone,

My husband and I have been in Toronto for just over 4 years and we still can't find a family doctor. We have searched high and low and nobody is taking new patients. Can anyone recommend a family doctor in the Toronto downtown/midtown area.

Thanks!

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Tracey22

Hi Everyone,

My husband and I have been in Toronto for just over 4 years and we still can't find a family doctor. We have searched high and low and nobody is taking new patients. Can anyone recommend a family doctor in the Toronto downtown/midtown area.

Thanks!

I know this is not in your area, but our family doctor does accept new patients in the Thornhill Woods area.

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Sparky2

Hi all,

When you come over on a work permit (Alberta), do you get health insurance coverage? (as you would on PR)

Thanks

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Sideline

From Alberta health website http://www.health.alberta.ca/AHCIP/temporary-residents.html

Temporary workers / extended work permits

(minimum 6 month permits)

AHCIP coverage is valid from the date signed (or the date of your arrival into Alberta whichever is later) until the expiry date noted on your work permit that was submitted to Alberta Health when you applied.

If your work permit has been renewed or extended, please provide Alberta Health with a copy of the new work permit in order to extend or reinstate your AHCIP coverage.

If Alberta Health does not receive a copy of your renewed or extended work permit, your AHCIP coverage will be cancelled on the expiry date noted on the previous work permit.

You may submit a copy of your renewed or extended work permit by mail, or by visiting an authorized registry agent (original documents are required at the registry office).

So yes you are covered as long as your WP is valid. It's immediate apron application. Remember government depts don't work week-ends.

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Sparky2

Thanks so much Sideline.

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