Toronto is a city of millions. Statistics dictate that at any given time, thousands of those people are sick or injured, so you would expect that it would have a lot of infrastructure dedicated to medical care. In fact, you would want to make sure of it before moving your family into the city. The good news is whether you need to go to a dental office, a toe pain clinic or a mental illness facility, there is a doctor, hospital, or practitioner located in the city that will be able to help you. This article will give you a quick overview of what's available.
There are more than twenty hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area, including several specialty hospitals, such as the Hospital for Sick Kids and the Center for Addiction and Mental Health. Minor surgeries and emergency care can be done at most regional hospitals, which the University of Toronto operates twelve teaching hospitals, including Toronto General Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital, and Toronto Western Hospital. Each has its own specialties - cardiology, oncology, neuroscience, etc. so patients at these hospitals often receive the cutting edge of care.
Some Canadians may be concerned about wait times in Toronto's emergency rooms, as a few years ago reports were saying they were the worst in the country. However, with the new system of triage that has been implemented, it is only the people who are waiting for nonessential, minor, or elective procedures such as plastic surgery that have long wait times. Critical and urgent care cases are evaluated in less than an hour while about half of patients end up waiting less than four hours to be seen. To reduce your wait time, only visit a hospital for critical cases.
In addition to the many hospitals in Toronto, there are also hundreds of non-urgent and secondary care clinics where you can find anything from a psychiatrist to a chiropractor to a dentist. Toronto also sports many practitioners of alternative medicine, from acupuncturists to naturopaths. A quick check in the yellow pages is sure to reveal a clinic or three convenient to your home, though be aware that many of these alternative services are not covered by health plans, especially the Ontario public health plan or OHIP.
If you're new to Canada, be aware that your medical care will not be covered by a government health plan like the native and naturalized residents of Toronto. If you want to visit an ER or see a physiotherapist, you will have to pay out of pocket for your care or buy into a private health plan offered by a company like Blue Cross. In fact, a requirement for many types of visas, such as student visas, is proof of medical insurance.
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