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How to Get a Family Doctor in Alberta

April 23, 2024 • read

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How to Get a Family Doctor in Alberta

We’re passionate about keeping Canadians healthy and we believe that family doctors play a critical role in doing that. But, where you live often affects whether or not you have one.

When it comes to primary care, Alberta may seem like it’s doing better than the rest of the country. However, doctor coverage in the province isn’t uniform. Instead, family physicians in some areas are still accepting new patients, while Albertans in other regions go without care.

If you’re one of the many Albertans without a family doctor, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s how to find a family doctor in Alberta and where to turn for care while you wait.

How to get a family doctor in Alberta

Having a family doctor is foundational for good health. Unfortunately, a shortage of primary care doctors in Canada has left millions without the care they need. As a result, provincial health organizations have put together registries where citizens can sign up to wait for a doctor.

The situation in Alberta is a little different. Instead of a provincially-run waitlist, Albertans are encouraged to look for a family doctor independently using the albertafindadoctor.ca site. So, whether you’re trying to figure out how to find a family doctor in Calgary, Edmonton, or the rest of the province, that’s where you’ll want to begin your search.

Using the provincial doctor locator allows you to refine your search by area, gender, or languages spoken. Even better, it also indicates which providers are accepting new patients.

Once you’ve found a couple of doctors that fit your criteria, call their clinics to confirm that they’re accepting new patients. While efforts are made to keep information up-to-date, mistakes do happen and some practitioners listed as available may sometimes be full.

If this occurs, keep trying other offices. Alternatively, you can also ask clinics if they have a waitlist you can join. Or, you can try calling back in the spring to see if they’ve hired any new graduates as providers.

If you have trouble finding available doctors, consider contacting your local Primary Care Network as they should be able to direct you to available options in your area.

If you’d prefer to speak with someone in person, calling Healthlink at 8-1-1 is another great option. Service navigators there can help steer you to nearby clinics or providers that are taking new patients (if available). Depending on your concern, they may also be able to connect you with another provider, such as a registered nurse or a dementia specialist to speak with over the phone.

How do I find a doctor online in Alberta?

We believe that care should be accessible to all Albertans, regardless of geography. Unfortunately, an unequal provincial distribution of doctors has left many traveling far distances to access the care they need. This is particularly true in more remote areas.

In addition, wait times at walk-in clinics in the province doubled last year. This means that many Albertans are also waiting longer for needed care. Given these factors, it’s little wonder that many are turning to virtual care.

Telehealth is uniquely positioned to provide care without the wait or the travel, breaking down the barriers to care facing many Albertans. However, virtual care isn’t just for those in remote areas or who don’t have a doctor.

Because it can address 91% of typical concerns in just one visit, telemedicine is both a great way of avoiding the lines at the local walk-in and a great alternative to waiting days for an appointment with your doctor.

If you’re looking to see a doctor online, our providers are here for you. With Maple, you can connect with one of our doctors and nurse practitioners within minutes, from wherever you are. Our Canadian-licensed medical providers can diagnose and treat a wide range of chronic and acute medical issues, from bites, flus, and migraines to prescription renewals, insomnia, and more. And, they’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via your phone, tablet, or computer.

How long does it take to get a family doctor in Alberta?

If you don’t have a family doctor you’re likely anxious to know how long it’ll take to get one. We’d love to give you a specific answer, but it’s unclear how long the average Albertan has to wait for a primary care provider.

If you’re looking at how to get a family doctor in Edmonton, for example, it may only take a few days as a number of physicians there are listed as accepting new patients. But Albertans in other parts of the province — especially more rural areas — may have a much longer wait ahead of them.

The patchwork of primary care in Alberta is leaving many of the province’s residents without the care they need. So if you’re searching for a family doctor and not having any luck, know that you’re not alone. Using the provincial doctor directory or calling 8-1-1 will help you navigate the process. But no matter how long it takes, know that our doctors and nurse practitioners are here for you. When you need care, help is at your fingertips.

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