Frequently asked questions can be found below.
A GP for Me is a joint effort of the Government of BC and Doctors of BC. It is one part of an integrated approach to provide primary health care services for all British Columbians. We are working to provide more accessible, effective, patient-focused health care, so that patients achieve their best possible health close to home.
Across the province, A GP for Me is making progress to help more people find a family doctor. But it is not a solution of everyone looking for a doctor right now. The challenges are complex and it will take time to address them. Over time, this work will make family doctors and primary care available to more people, in two main ways:
- Groups of doctors in communities put plans in place to increase access to care in their local areas; and
- Individual doctors’ offices are receiving support to help make their practices more efficient, so they can take on new patients where possible.
This is not a doctor-patient matching website. Right now, the best source for finding a doctor is asking friends or family. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC also maintains a list of doctors accepting new patients.
Primary care is the usual first point of contact a person has with the health system – the point where people receive care for most of their everyday health needs. Primary care is typically provided by family physicians in BC. It includes the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of various health conditions. It also includes referrals to specialists and diagnostic services such as laboratory tests or X-rays.
A strong doctor-patient relationship is directly linked to better health outcomes as well as greater satisfaction for doctors and patients. If you have an ongoing relationship with your family doctor you are likely to experience better care because your doctor knows and understands your background and medical history. You will also benefit from more preventative care, better communication and coordination of your care when you need to be referred to other health care providers, more accurate diagnoses, better medication management, avoidance of repeat tests or other interventions, and fewer hospitalizations.
A GP for Me is seeing benefits on many levels. First, it was tested in three communities: Cowichan Valley, Prince George, and White Rock-South Surrey. In these communities, 31,000 people who did not previously have a doctor we able to find one.
Following these successes, in 2014, divisions of family practice in other BC communities developed their own local plans and doctors started using practice-level incentive fees in their offices, all to improve patient access to primary care.
By September 2015, the A GP for Me work had helped more than 88,600 patients with chronic, complex care issues get a doctor or primary care provider. It also helped more than 60,500 people get another family doctor when their GP retired or left the community.
These kinds of benefits for patients continue to grow through 2016.
As a patient, your commitment may include turning to your family doctor first for all your health care needs and letting them know when you have received care elsewhere (e.g. at a hospital, walk-in clinic, or another health care provider like a physiotherapist). In turn, your doctor’s commitment could include providing you access to health care for the long term, maintaining your medical record, and helping you access other health care professionals through referrals, when needed.
Finding new doctors for patients who already have one is not the focus of A GP for Me. That said, patients remain free to choose the doctor best suited to their needs and you can choose to look for a new doctor at any time. It is recommended that you stay with your current doctor until you have found a new one, to ensure you are not without access to primary care.