Family doctors and nurse practitioners, and general physicians or general practitioners (GPs) are usually the first clinicians to see a patient, diagnose and treat health problems.
If you need to see a specialist, your family clinician or a GP usually have to provide you with a referral. They can also order laboratory tests, x-rays, ultrasounds and other medical tests to determine whether or not you need to be seen by a specialist. Family clinicians -- doctors or nurse practitioners -- also keep a patient's medical history on file in their base clinics.
Finding a Family Doctor or Nurse Practitioner
After applying for the PEI Health Card, you should contact the Provincial Patient Registry Program. This service assists people who move to PEI or relocate within the province in finding a family doctor or nurse practitioner. You and your family will be put on a list, and contacted when a clinician is assigned to you. [See Related Resources]
There is usually a waiting list for a family clinician in PEI. After you are registered, you might be able to find one sooner if you:
- Ask friends or relatives to check with their family doctor or nurse practitioner if he or she is taking new patients
- Look up local physicians or nurse practitioners and contact them directly
- Ask any general practitioner with whom you come in contact if they are taking new patients
Health Clinics and Centres
If you have a non-emergency health problem while you are on the waiting list for a family clinician, or even if you have one, but cannot arrange an immediate appointment with your family clinic, you can go to a walk-in clinic for medical attention. [See Related Resources]
The walk-in clinics operate on a first-come-first-serve basis, and there is no need to arrange an appointment. Registration usually starts about half an hour before the clinic opens. A clinic might close early if the maximum patient capacity has been reached.
Family and Community Health Centres
There is a number of family and community health centres across the Island. Their services include primary care for people with acute or chronic illnesses (diagnosis and treatment), health promotion through education, illness prevention and chronic disease management.
PEI Travel Clinic
The travel clinic provides people who plan to travel outside of Canada with counselling and information on possible health risks in the country they plan to visit. The clinic also provides required or recommended immunizations and prescriptions, and other medical advice and information useful for travellers.
Pap Screening Clinic
For women who do not yet have a family clinician and wish to undergo regular Pap tests, there is a Pap Screening Clinic in Cornwall. This clinic is available to women between the ages of 21 and 65 who have not had a Pap test within the past two years. You need to call ahead to make an appointment. [See Related Resources]