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Old 15.07.2015, 16:05
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GP not taking new patient

I was sick few days ago, and as it lasted more than 3 days, I decided to visit a doctor (for the first time in Switzerland). Here was when I faced the nice Swiss mentality of "plan everything way in advance": Almost all the GP's near my house replied that "they don't take new patients"! Long story short, I ended up going to a hospital emergency (no need to say that every single person there from the nurse to the doctor were asking me if I didn't have a family doctor to go to instead of going to a hospital for such a situation).

So, my question is: Should one contact a doctor when he/she is healthy and ask for the next available appointment in the next 12 months (or more) and go for a general check-up, so that when there is a need for an emergency, he/she can get an appointment?

FYI, I have my insurance with Assura.
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Old 15.07.2015, 16:22
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Re: GP not taking new patient

Pretty much. I had chosen a random GP off the list of those in my local permanence as instructed by my insurance. Saw him a couple of times. Last year they decided I should have the same GP as my kids so stuck me on his list instead. The doctor was more annoyed about it than me as he is against insurance companies deciding who has what patients. I didn't complain as he's perfectly acceptable. But yes, if you want to at least meet the GP before getting on his/her list, then make an appointment.
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Old 15.07.2015, 16:24
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Re: GP not taking new patient

Basically yes - get your details on their books etc.

Quite a few things (clubs, work) may ask who your doctor is as well, for use in emergencies.
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Old 15.07.2015, 16:24
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Re: GP not taking new patient

There is a growing shortage of general practitioners in Switzerland, many practices no longer take on new patients. Those of us who live out in the boondocks have been faced with this problem for years - it can take months, sometimes years to find a GP within a reasonable distance. Recently, though, there have been reports that the shortage is becoming apparent in the cities as well.

So yes - start searching for a GP when you are healthy. Make an introductory appointment to discuss your health history. Then when you are ill you have a better chance of being seen.

(Out my way, an illness that is not urgent still means a wait of a few days to weeks. The practice does exceptionally squeeze in urgent same-day appointments, but these had better be truly urgent.)

In Zürich there is a walk-in clinic at the Hauptbahnhof where an appointment is not needed. There will likely be a queue of people waiting, but you will be seen that day, usually within an hour or two. This is where most people go when their own doctor cannot see them but the illness, while time-critical, is not 'life-and-death' serious to warrant a trip to the ER.

http://www.permanence.ch

ETA:

Here's another that takes walk-ins:
http://arzthaus.ch
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Old 15.07.2015, 16:42
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Re: GP not taking new patient

Many practices run an emergency walk-in service for those who have no GP, or whose GP is unavailable. there should be a list on your commune website, I believe.
But yes, you have to register with a GP, and as others have pointed out, that is not always as straightforward as you think.
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Old 15.07.2015, 17:14
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Re: GP not taking new patient

FYI, here is the Verein Hausaerzte Stadt Zürich website, listing GPs in Zürich city who are taking on new patients:
http://www.hausarzt.ch/wp-content/th...php?aufnahme=1

I don't know how current the list is, you may need to do some calling around.


I found this list linked from a Tagi article from April 2015 discussing the GP shortage problem. Makes for sobering reading.
http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/zuerich/...story/11397900
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Old 15.07.2015, 17:38
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Re: GP not taking new patient

Ah yes, the medical bureaucracy of Switzerland. #MFS
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Old 15.07.2015, 20:02
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Re: GP not taking new patient

Depends where you live. My town has 5 GP surgeries. I can generally always get an appointment on the day I call, and every day including weekends, one Dr in town is allocated as "emergency" Dr to deal with all emergency cases and accidents.
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Old 15.07.2015, 23:11
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Re: GP not taking new patient

Having been through the same challenge several times I am seriously tempted to accept the feedback received by several doctors: Yes, you can have an appointment - in six months.

Once you space several such appointments with several GPs you should be nicely covered for sudden illnesses.

Just don't forget to cancel these appointments in time in case you are not sick.
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Old 16.07.2015, 00:45
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Re: GP not taking new patient

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So, my question is: Should one contact a doctor when he/she is healthy and ask for the next available appointment in the next 12 months (or more) and go for a general check-up, so that when there is a need for an emergency, he/she can get an appointment?

FYI, I have my insurance with Assura.
You should register at a GP's and visit at least once (for e.g. a checkup). Afterwards, it's easier to get an appointment even on the day itself when you have an emergency.

I don't know if this extends to Zurich, but there is such an organisation that provides an emergency appointment with a doctor near you: http://www.urgences-sante.ch/fus-professionnels-sante

It might be different in Zurich, but the waiting times at the A&E in Lausanne requires preparation for camping- books, food, batteries, laptop, and whatever you need to wait comfortably.
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Old 20.07.2015, 17:51
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Re: GP not taking new patient

Consider changing to a different basic model. Most health insurers offer you the SANTE/ health center model. Which means you visit their health center, various GPs and often additional support - midwife, physio, etc.

They are often also cheaper than the other models, as they are part of the same company.

As I have the FAVORIT SANTE, I've never struggled getting an appointment, and they often speak multiple languages, which helps most of us
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