Walk-in Clinics

Can I insist that a particular physician working at a walk-in clinic become my dedicated family physician?

No, the obligation to provide comprehensive primary care is shared by all of the physicians who work in the clinic. Patients must receive appropriate care from any of the physicians they see, which includes periodic health examinations (e.g. PAP smears, blood pressure checks, screening tests for colon cancer) and chronic disease management (e.g. care over time for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, kidney disease, depression, hypertension). Patients may not see the same physician each time they attend the clinic but they can be assured of longitudinal care through a single medical record, which all of the physicians working in the clinic will access.

I was just discharged from hospital on blood thinners. When I left, the nurse told me to follow up with my family physician. I have attended a walk-in clinic in my neighborhood regularly for years for all of my care and I don’t have a dedicated family physician. What should I do?

The walk-in clinic you have been attending is responsible for your care. Telephone the walk-in clinic and let them know that you have been in hospital. They are required to call the hospital and request that a copy of the discharge summary be sent to the clinic. Once they receive the discharge summary, it will be placed in your medical record for all of the physicians working at the clinic to review. This will ensure you receive appropriate ongoing care.

Can I insist on becoming a clinic patient at my very first visit?

The standard refers to attendance at the same clinic on more than one occasion. This is not a first visit obligation for the clinic. Patients who attend the same clinic regularly as their primary care home must be offered ongoing care organized and delivered to expected standards, including the creation of a unified patient record which is reviewed at every visit. The standard formalizes what is already happening—a patient attending a single clinic for most or all of their care is a patient of that clinic.