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Ask Dr. Marla: Finding a new doctor after you move

Stethoscope resting on a patient chart with a pen nearby


We’re moving to another city in Canada. What ’s the best way to find a new family doctor?


Finding a doctor can be extremely challenging when moving to a new city. Before you leave, ask your doctor if he or she has any colleagues in your new city who might be able to take you on as a patient.

As with job finding, one of the most basic skills in finding a new doctor is network, network, network! Ask work colleagues or neighbourhood friends if they have a doctor who might take you on. Other health professionals, such as your new pharmacist, dentist or optometrist, might have a suggestion as well.

Regardless of where you move, every province and territory has medical associations. Reach out to them and see if they have any suggestions or lists of doctors accepting patients on their websites. New graduates enter the workforce every July and that might be a good time to look for a new physician. In addition, the local public health office might have a list of doctors.

One of the best ways to find a doctor is in a university teaching hospital if your new city has a medical school. These locations that have a residency in Family Medicine will have doctors-in-training who work with staff physicians and they often are able to take on patients.

Many provincial ministries of health or colleges of physicians and surgeons have a doctor finder link on their websites. The Ontario government’s Health Care Connect ( for example, invites people without a primary health care provider to register online, and it will help match them to someone accepting patients.


Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, Feb/Mar 2015.

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