You can’t always rely on scheduling an appointment days in advance when you need a doctor. Sometimes, you start feeling sick shortly after your doctor’s office closes or in the middle of the night. Thankfully, you’ve got a few options. In Ontario, there are a number of healthcare providers that can give you medical attention, depending on your need and whether you are rostered to a clinic.
Here are some of your options:
If you are rostered to a clinic, it may be part of a family health team:
Your clinic should have after-hours options. FHTs, FHGs, FHNs and FHOs all offer extended hours services, where doctors set aside time to see patients outside of their regular hours. The benefit of taking advantage of your clinic’s extended hours is that all of your medical information is readily accessible. Even if you don’t see your own doctor, one of their colleagues will take care of you and they will have access to your medical file. This ensures that your records are always up-to-date, and your regular doctor will be able to follow-up with you.
Clinics may also offer a telephone service. The Telephone Health Advisory Service offered to patients in FHTs, FHGs, FHNs and FHOs connects you with a registered nurse who can help you. These nurses will know your clinic info, and can connect with them should you require more assistance. Make sure you get the right number from your clinic. We will soon pilot a service that will let you see after-hours recommendations and your clinics Telephone Health Advisory Service number when you log into your iamsick.ca account. You will hear more about this new feature over the next few months.
It’s really important that your medical records are accurate and up-to-date. Unless you are too far away or can’t call the after-hours telephone service, we recommend that see your regular doctor and clinic.
If you can’t visit your clinic, another option is to use iamsick.ca to find the closest open walk-in clinic or urgent care centre near you.
If you are NOT rostered to a clinic:
Walk-in clinics and urgent care centres are available if you require non-emergency medical attention after-hours. To find your nearest open clinic, visit iamsick.ca and enter your location. We even have a handy filter that lets you hide everything that is closed at the time of search:
Unrostered patients also have a telephone service, called Telehealth Ontario. The service is accessible 24/7. A registered nurse will answer any non-emergency health questions you may have.
If you need emergency help, call 911 or visit your local emergency department.
If you’re a visual person, we’ve got this nifty flow chart to help you make your decision.
This post is about options in Ontario, but we hope to blog about services across Canada soon. Stay tuned!