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Family Medicine Groups

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Purpose of Family Medicine Groups

The implementation of family medicine groups follows one of the main recommendations of the Clair Commission, a commission of inquiry into health and social services. The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux is establishing family medicine groups to increase access to family physicians for all, improve the quality of general medical care and enhance the role of family physicians.

More specifically, the MSSS intends to:

  • extend the hours of access to family physicians;
  • ensure that family physicians are more available through working in groups and sharing activities with nurses within an family medicine group;
  • improve patient follow-up and service continuity by strengthening links with other healthcare providers such as CLSCs.

What Is a Family Medicine Group?

A family medicine groups a group of family physicians who work in close cooperation with nurses to offer family medicine services to registered individuals. Family physicians who are members of FMGs will also work closely with other healthcare professionals in CLSCs, hospitals, community pharmacies, etc., to complement the services they offer.

Advantages of Registering with an family medicine group Physician

Registration with a physician who is a member of a family medicine group is voluntary and free. It is a unique opportunity for patients to choose their own physicians and establish an enduring and meaningful relationship with them. Registration reflects a mutual commitment between the person registering and their family physician. In an emergency situation or when traveling outside their region of residence, a registered individual can consult another physician who has access to their medical file. Registration is valid for one year and is renewed automatically unless otherwise cancelled in writing by the person registered.

There are several advantages to registering with a physician who is a member of an family medicine group:

  • the attention of a team composed of the family physician of the person registered as well as the physician’s colleagues and the nurses in the family medicine group, who cooperate in the management and follow-up of the person’s health;
  • the possibility of obtaining general medical services from the family medicine group with or, if necessary, without an appointment, or at home, if the person is not mobile and their situation requires it;
  • access to personalized explanations, instructions and nursing follow-up for certain health issues;
  • knowing who to communicate with 24/7 to obtain services adapted to their needs;
  • the possibility, if the family physician is absent, of receiving care from another physician in the family medicine group.

Deadline for Implementing Family Medicine Groups

The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux intends to progressively implement about 300 family medicine groups throughout Québec, such that the entire population will be registered with an family medicine group physician by 2005. Given that the number of accredited family medicine groups is limited at the moment, the public will be notified locally of when and how to register with a family physician in an family medicine group. Those who cannot register in the short- or mid-term will continue to receive the general medical services currently available in private clinics, CLSCs offering such services and family medicine teaching units in hospitals and CLSCs.

Contact your regional health and social services board to find out more about the implementation of family medicine groups and the range of medical services available in your region.

For more information, consult the following pages under the French section entitled Groupes de médecine de famille:

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