WHEN Linda Sayers began her search for a family doctor, her son’s pediatrician recommended she register on the Find a Doctor website.

“I’ve never really had a family doctor,” says Linda. “I’ve just gone to walk-in clinics. It (has been hard) to find a family doctor in this city, so I was thankful for the website. It was easy to find and registering didn’t take long.”

The Find a Doctor Website

The Find a Doctor registry is an online service that connects residents of Calgary and surrounding areas to a family doctor who is accepting new patients.

Two months after completing the form online, Linda was contacted by the Calgary Foothills Primary Care Network. The network connected Linda with Dr. Branden Reid at the Foothills Primary Care Centre. “I was happy. I didn’t expect it to be that quick,” she said. “Dr. Reid is very thorough and on top of things. He helped my family out a lot in a short amount of time.”

Dr. Reid, who moved from Edmonton to Calgary this year, says his roster of patients is already close to full thanks in large part to the website after 9 months. “Many of my patients didn’t have a family doctor before and they are very appreciative,” he says. “The site works very well and I am very thankful.”

The Find a Doctor website was first launched by the Calgary Foothills Primary Care Network in 2009 to help people living in north Calgary and Cochrane to find a physician. In 2011, it expanded to include people and physicians throughout Calgary and surrounding areas and, before this past holiday season, new features were added.

New Features

While people can still use the online registration form as Linda did, would-be patients can also take a more active role in their search for a physician.

One of the new features, a map, lists all Calgary and area physicians who are members of a Primary Care Network. It highlights doctors who are accepting new patients and provides contact information.

While Linda was happy to wait two months to be linked with Dr. Reid, the new resource gives people the option of finding a physician more quickly. People who register online can expect to wait as little as a few weeks, or as long as a few months, to hear back from a Primary Care Network with an available physician’s details.

Last year, 4,370 patients found a doctor at Calgary Foothills PCN, one of seven PCNs in the area, through the website.

Dr Linda Slocombe, medical director with the Calgary Foothills Primary Care Network, urges people who do not have a family doctor to register.

Research shows having a family doctor and seeing him or her regularly keeps you healthier as you age, helps you live longer and can aid in catching illnesses before they become serious. Watch the video on this page for details about the benefits of having a family doctor.

If you need a family doctor, please go to www.calgaryareadocs.com