Family doctors are good for your health.
Your family doctor is an expert in caring for YOU. They get to know and care for you throughout your life, leading to better health outcomes and higher satisfaction with your health care.
FIND A FAMILY DOCTOR
PathwaysMedicalCare.ca is a new province-wide public directory that helps you connect to care. It includes individual family doctor listings plus information on doctors accepting new patients.
Many family doctors are available by telephone or video to support you staying at home through the COVID-19 pandemic. If your family doctor thinks you need to be seen in person, they will help you navigate this safely. Contact your family doctor’s office to find out the best appointment option for you.
The BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) covers the cost of in-office, telephone and video appointments.
WHY SEE A FAMILY DOCTOR?
Whether for a health matter that popped up unexpectedly, a chronic condition that requires ongoing care, or for your mental well being, it’s more important than ever that you look after your health and receive ongoing, comprehensive care from your family doctor.
Evidence shows that long-term care from a family doctor leads to fewer hospitalizations, lower mortality, better overall health outcomes, and higher satisfaction with your health care.
Family doctors take the time to get to know and your family. We specialize in providing whole-person, patient-centred care that improves your quality of life and addresses any physical or mental health concerns. An ongoing relationship with your family doctor means there is someone who knows you well and can help you stay healthy through all stages of your life.
HOW DOES A PHONE OR VIDEO APPOINTMENT WORK?
Call your family doctor’s office as you would normally. Someone there will book an appointment for you and walk you through what you’ll need to do before your telephone or video appointment.
If the appointment is by phone, your doctor will call you or you will be asked to call them. You just need to be available at your appointment time to dial the doctor or answer your phone, depending on what you’ve agreed to.
For video appointments, your family doctor will let you know if they are going to use a specific videoconferencing app or a more general one.
You will need an email address, a good internet connection and a device with a webcam and microphone (usually, these are built into your device). If you need to download an app in advance of your video appointment, the doctor’s office will let you know what it is and how to do this. The application for download should be free.
Many health concerns lend themselves to a phone or video appointment, but some do not. During your appointment, your family doctor will determine if you need to be seen in person. If this is the case, they will give you instructions that help keep you safe.
If you have an emergency, don’t wait to call your family doctor. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Evidence shows that the relationship between a patient and their family doctor is one of the key factors proven to help prevent disease, change the outcome of disease and prolong life.
WHAT SERVICES DO FAMILY DOCTORS PROVIDE?
Family doctors use the best available evidence, combined with clinical expertise from many years of training and ongoing education, to create care plans that fit our patients’ needs. We also recognize how social factors like family history, financial status, responsibilities, cultural background and past traumas impact your health.
We may work on our own, as part of a group practice or as part of a multidisciplinary team with other health care providers. Family doctors care for patients in our office, at the hospital, in other health care facilities, in our patient’s home – and now by telephone and video appointments where appropriate and available.
In addition to providing care for most injuries and illnesses, family doctors can coordinate specialized care when you need it. We also maintain your medical record throughout your life and share information on your behalf with other health care providers as needed. Family doctors in BC provide a range of different services including:
- Treatment of common illnesses and injuries
- Help with anxiety or stress in uncertain times
- Preventative care, including disease prevention and health promotion
- Basic emergency services
- Community health
- Primary mental health care
- Palliative and end-of-life care
- Geriatric care, including home health and long-term care
- Pre-natal and maternity care
- Healthy child development
- Youth health
- Weight loss
- Smoking cessation
- Referrals to and coordination with other levels of care (such as hospitals and specialist care)
- Hospital care
- Emergency room medicine
Corporate virtual care services such as Babylon and Maple do not connect you with your own family doctor and may not provide an option to choose the doctor you see.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT COVID-19?
If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, this self-assessment tool will help you determine the best course of action to take. The tool is available as a website or as an app.
You can also contact your family doctor, who can arrange an appointment to answer questions you may have and help manage your symptoms.
The Province has a phone service to provide non-medical information about COVID-19, including the latest information on travel recommendations and physical distancing. Information is available in more than 110 languages from 7:30 am – 8:00 pm daily at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or via text message at 1-888-268-4319.
- Physical distancing is key in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus and staying safe. Maintain a two-metre distance to those outside your household.
- Limit trips to essential work or grocery, pharmacy and medical visits. Wear a three-layer mask.
- Do not visit with anyone outside of your household in an indoor setting.
- Limit any outdoor gatherings and continue to maintain a two-metre distance and wear a three-layer mask.
- Enjoy fresh air and outdoor activities like walks, while maintaining a two-metre distance from others.
- Continue to maintain your health through family doctor appointments.
These resources come from reliable and regularly updated sources.
- Vaccination registration
- BC CDC COVID-19 information
- Be Prepared: Public Health Agency of Canada
- Coping with Stress During Coronavirus Outbreak
- COVID-19 self-assessment screening tool (BC)
- Questions and Answers on COVID-19