City: Residents without doctors urged to register with Health Care Connect

Photo via US Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

Right now, people are thinking about their health a lot more than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but what about those in Kingston who are currently looking for a family doctor?

The number of those without access to a family healthcare team is larger than you might think. As part of its ‘Physician Recruitment Strategy,’ the City of Kingston is partnering with the Kingston Area Health Care Taskforce and Kingston Community Health Centres to ask residents without a family physician or healthcare team to sign up for Health Care Connect.

Health Care Connect is a provincially-administered government agency that helps track family physician capacity, the City of Kingston said in a press release on Monday, May 25, 2020. Residents can register by calling 1-800-445-1822 or visiting the Ministry of Health website here.

“COVID-19 has highlighted the need for many residents to have a family healthcare team in place,” said Craig Desjardins, Director of Strategy, Innovation and Partnerships for the City of Kingston. “For many residents, a primary healthcare team may be inaccessible. Some individuals may need to drive hours to access a family doctor and many more may not have one in the first place. By signing up for Health Care Connect, residents can help make a case for attracting more family doctors to Kingston.”

According to the City, Health Care Connect is a unique research approach.

“In addition to encouraging registrations for Health Care Connect, representatives from the Kingston Area Health Care Taskforce will also be administering a survey of family physicians to assess the number of physicians currently engaged in primary care, as well as current roster size,” the press release reads.

Although Kingston has a high number of research physicians due to the major hospitals and institutions associated with local post-secondary institutions, many of these doctors are engaged in activities such as medical research and may not be taking on a full roster of patients, the City explained. Residents can provide the provincial government with a more accurate idea of the number of those in Kingston without family physicians by registering for Health Care Connect.

“By providing a more holistic view of primary care in Kingston, the City of Kingston may be able to convince the Ministry of Health that we need more family doctors to ensure that all residents have access to primary care,” the City said.

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