Finding a Family Doctor
For all health visits, you must present your health card (OHIP). If you do not have a health card, you may be required to pay for medical care. Contact a Community Health Centre for more information on what to do in this situation.
Although there is a shortage of family doctors in the many areas in Ottawa, there are a few ways to find a family doctor:
- Ask a friend if their doctor is accepting new patients
- Use the “Find a Doctor” service of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to locate a doctor in your area at 1-800-268-7096 ext 626
- Ask for help from an Immigrant Settlement Agency or Community Health Centre
You may have difficulty finding a doctor in your area who takes patients. You may need to go to a walk-in medical clinic, which is staffed by doctors and nurses. Family doctors usually require that you make an appointment.
The Emergency Department of each hospital is mandated to treat people with life-threatening injuries or conditions. They are not to be used for routine medical services, which should be treated by your family doctor or at a walk-in clinic.
Certain medications can only be obtained with a doctor’s prescription. If your doctor considers that you need such medication, he or she will give you a written prescription. As a patient, you are expected to take your medicine as directed. It is your responsibility to inform your doctor about any allergies or other medicines you are taking. It is expected that you ask questions about the medicine prescribed.
You must take the prescription to a pharmacist, who is a health care professional who prepares or dispenses the medication. They work in drug stores or pharmacies in larger stores, hospitals, community health centers, and for the government. A dispensing fee is added to the cost of your prescription to cover these services.
Paying for Prescription Medicine
The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) does not pay for prescriptions. You will therefore be required to pay for them yourself. Some employers offer group insurance plans, which may cover some of the cost of prescription medication, or you can buy an individual plan from a private company. Refugee claimants may be eligible to receive essential prescription drugs through the Interim Federal Health Program.
Public Health – Requirements for School Children
All children who are new to Canada must have a Certificate of Immunization and Tuberculosis Assessment for School Entry. Ottawa Public Health will verify that all immunization and screening requirements have been satisfied, or have a valid exemption. There is no charge for immunization. For answers to your questions on injury and disease prevention, preventive health care for babies and children, parenting, pregnancy, etc. contact Ottawa Public Health.