Finding a New Doctor
Finding a new doctor is a problem in Ontario, and in other places in the world.
I know what I am looking for in a doctor, by preference:-
(2) About fifty years old, so with 20+ years of experience (assuming the doctor went straight into GP as a young man)
(3) About fifty years old, so with a bit of luck, he will survive as my doctor for the 20 years I think I might survive.
Obvious characteristics will be “within walking distance from my home” and so on.
By a long and (to me) tortuous process, a finally stumbled on a possible solution: A good friend suggested I go to a local hospital which offers a “family Practice”. It seems that the hospital closest to me – Women’s College Hospital – is just across the street from where I live AND has a family practice.
I pin-ball around information desks for a few minutes and am directed to the family practice across the street.
More information desks, but finally the “Blue” desk seems free. Turns out that this practice is fully-booked, but if I dial this number ... and I walk out clutching a stick-it note.
Back home I dial, and get a voice-mail that says something about not really taking any bookings, but try this web site.
Off to the free Wi-Fi up the Yorkville Public Library and onto the web-site.
(This doctor better be good!)
The web site sends me to a form which I fill in up to the point of the email. I don’t like handing out my email to people I am not yet in business with, so I give my old email address, which no longer works, but is accepted as valid by the web site.
Two days later a voice-mail asking me to call back to this number “extension 374”.
There is no such extension.
Another trip to the library, a web search for the phone number, a PDF file and voila! (as we say in Canada) the phone number and an extension “3742”.
Ah hah! (as they say on the RTL breakfast show from Paris).
I dial and speak with the nice lady who gives me the name and address and phone number of a doctor, fifty-ish, walking distance, and so I phone them and make an appointment.
(Man! I hate these processes!)
I introduce myself and then wait at the counter by the stack of forms while the receptionist does an awful lot of "clickety-click”. How can she key in so much data when all she has seen is my face and my Health Card?
Once she is finished her keying-in, about a two-minute wait, and without asking me any questions, she taps the pile of forms and asks me to fill one in.
I stop feeling good. Clearly she had no use for me. Could she not have asked me to sit down and start filling in the form, instead of having me stand and wait in silence like a bad boy?
I sit down and fill in the form.
I sign the form.
Then the fine-print hits me “ ... on the back of this form ...”.
The back of the form is blank.
The OHIP organization (whatever the name of the system is, perhaps the “make Chris Greaves stand uselessly for two minutes society”) doesn’t distribute these forms.
They put them on the web site and each practice has to download and print the forms.
And as a way to cut costs, they print only the face side.
And every incoming patient happily signs a form saying that they have read the back of the form – not a difficult task given that the back of the form is blank – and everyone is happy!
I sigh, get to my feet, grab a second blank form, ... and start filling it out again and submit it without signing.