FAQs - Niagara North Family Health Team

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Frequently Asked Questions

Something urgent has come up and I think I need to be seen as soon as possible. What should I do?

Call your doctor’s office. If it is during regular office hours (i.e., Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm), you may be able to get an appointment with your own doctor. All doctors in the group keep some appointments open each day for “same day” issues. If your doctor is not able to see you, you may be able to be seen by a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or a family medicine resident. If there are no more appointments with these providers, then we have an “After Hours Clinic” for patients of the Family Health Team. The clinic runs from 5pm to 8pm on Mondays to Fridays, and Saturday & Sunday from 1pm to 5pm and is by appointment only. Call your family doctor’s office for an appointment. Bookings for the clinic begin during the daytime and phones are also answered during the clinic. Outside of these hours, there is always a doctor on-call for patients of the Family Health Team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you feel like you need to speak to a doctor when the offices are closed, call your own family doctor’s office and the answering service will page the doctor on-call for you.

Where is the after hours Urgent Care Clinic?

The After Hours Urgent Care Clinics rotate sites according to the physician on-call that day. After Hours policies are different depending on whether you are a St. Catharines or Niagara-on-the-Lake patient. See After Hours for more information.

Can I come to the After Hours Clinic to get my medication renewals?

The After Hours Clinic is intended for urgent medical issues that cannot wait until the next time your own provider is available. Issues such as a high fever, urinary tract infection, new cough, sick child can be handled appropriately in the After Hours Clinic. Medication renewals are best managed by your own health care provider during regular office hours. If you are unsure if your problem is appropriate for the After Hours Clinic, call your doctor’s office. For life and death emergencies, call 911. For medical emergencies such as chest pain or shortness of breath, go to the ER.

Can I just go to a walk-in clinic?

Our FHT tries to provide the best care possible to our patients. We feel that we can do that if you come to us for all of your primary care needs. With our electronic records, health care providers will have access to your medical history, medications and allergies. This will allow for a better ability to diagnose conditions and for safer prescribing of medications. Also, your clinic visit will be recorded in your own medical record and become part of your history. This will not happen if you go to a walk-in clinic.

What is a Family Health Team?

A Family Health Team is an approach to primary health care that brings together different health care providers to co-ordinate the highest possible quality of care for you – the patient. Designed to give doctors support from other complementary professionals, most Family Health Teams will consist of doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and other health care professionals who work collaboratively, each utilizing their experience and skills so that you receive the very best care, when you need it, as close to home as possible. For more information, visit the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website.