What is a Family Health Team (FHT)?

A FHT is a model of primary health care that brings together different health care professionals with the goal of providing the highest possible quality of care for patients.  Most Family Health Teams consist of doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and other professionals such as Dietitians, Social Workers, etc.  who work together in a collaborative manner.  Currently across Ontario, there are approximately 150 Family Health Teams.

What does the West Durham Family Health Team mean to me?

Family Health Teams are patient-centred and give you access to a number of primary health care services from a variety of team members, including your family doctor.  Patients benefit from the skills of other health care providers, such as Nurse Practitioners and Registered Nurses, to enhance the care available to you.

  • Your family doctor will continue to see you during regular office hours.
  • You will have access to other health care professionals within that Family Health Team, such as Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, a Registered Dietitian, a Social Worker and other health care providers in the future.
  • You will have access to a Family Health Team Doctor or Nurse Practitioner during extended evening and weekend hours for urgent problems:

The hours are Monday to Thursdays from 5 pm to 8 pm (patients must be signed in by 7:30pm) and Saturdays from 9am to 12 pm (patients must be signed in by 11:30am). 

Please note: If you need urgent care, please come to our After Hours clinic, and not to outside Walk in Clinics.  This is where your chart is, and where your follow up care can best be managed by your own health care practitioner.

Important Notes:

There are no extended hours on Statutory Holidays.
Xrays may not be available after hours. Xrays are subject to the hours of independent Xray clinics.

  • When you see another doctor or health care provider in the Family Health Team for treatment, the encounter is documented in your  Electronic Medical Record.  This will allow your own doctor or Nurse Practitioner to review the nature of your health issue and remain up-to date.
  • If you need assistance after-hours, you will be able to telephone the Telephone Health Advisory Service at 1-866-553-7205.

This telephone advisory service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including statutory holidays

When calling this toll-free service, a Tele-Health Ontario registered nurse will provide you with advice about your urgent health care concerns and can also provide general health information.  This service does not diagnose a patient and also do not replace your physician. After you have contacted Telehealth Ontario, your Doctor or Nurse Practitioner will receive a written summary of your call the next day, so that he/she is informed of the nature of the problem and the advice you received.

What is a Nurse Practitioner and what are their qualifications?

A Nurse Practitioner (NP) is an experienced Registered Nurse with additional university preparation that allows them to diagnose, treat, and monitor your health. A Nurse Practitioner can:

  • perform your physical examination
  • order blood tests
  • prescribe medications to treat your acute illness
  • monitor your diabetes or high blood pressure and order medications used to treat them
  • order x-rays and ultrasounds, and
  • work with you to ensure you remain as healthy as possible.

NPs work as part of a team along with physicians, nurses, dietitians and social workers, to provide you with the health care you need. You may access an NP through a clinic or hospital.

For more information, please access the link below:

Nurse Practitioners Association of Ontario

Will I still get to see my doctor now that he or she has joined the West Durham Family Health Team?

Yes. Your Family Doctor or Nurse Practitioner is your primary health care provider.  Family Health Teams offer a group approach to health care where your doctor and the other health care professionals work together as a team to provide care.  The Registered Nurses also assist the Doctors in the initial assessment and triage of patients.  The Nurse Practitioners are also able to diagnose and treat patients.

Can I see another doctor?

The West Durham Family Health Team is made up of a team of 12 family physicians in two locations and other professionals who have the skills and experience to provide patients with the very best care.  In order to maintain our ability to offer this comprehensive care, it is important to first contact our Family Health team offices before seeking care elsewhere.

To ensure continuity of care and to be able to provide you with all the other services and supports, we strongly discourage our patients from using walk-in clinics if at all possible, and to not see any family physicians outside of the West Durham Family Health Team.  This ensures that all of your healthcare needs are coordinated in a consistent manner, communicated to your health provider, and recorded in your electronic medical record/chart.

What happens when I'm referred to see a specialist?

If your Doctor or Nurse Practitioner refers you to a medical specialist, our reception staff will make an appointment for you and let you know as soon as possible about the appointment details. Remember, that our office may not hear back about your specialist appointment for several weeks or even months.

If you are unable to go to your specialist appointment on the scheduled date, please contact your specialist's office to reschedule another date and/or time.  It is important not to miss specialists appointments as they are often scheduled many weeks or months in advance. As well, the specialist's office may charge you for a missed appointment.

When going to your specialist appointment it is important to bring a list of your current medications, including any herbal preparations or supplements you may be taking.

If I am sick after regular clinic hours, do I have to go to the hospital?

For medical emergencies, immediately call 911 or go to the nearest hospital Emergency Department.

However, for NON-URGENT MEDICAL PROBLEMS ONLY, the West Durham Family Health Team offers extended clinic hours :

Monday through Thursday 5pm-8pm (patients must be signed in by 7:30)
Saturday 9am-12pm (patients must be signed in by 11:30)

**Please note there are no extended hours on statutory holidays.**

You will also have access to THAS, the Telephone Health Advisory Service 1-866-553-7205 where a Registered Nurse provides medical advice about your health concerns, and with your permission, reports back to your doctor or Nurse Practitioner.  This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including statutory holidays.

Where can I access information regarding OHIP forms and Applications?

Ontario Health Insurance (OHIP) forms are available through the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to speak to any member of the Family Health Team.

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