More threads by HA


Although I don't see a link to listen to this program that airs after The Current, my eyes were opened a little wider concerning the dilemma of doctor shortages and how difficult it is to get a family doctor. This segment discussed how some GP's are not willing to take patients with psychiatric diagnoses or frail seniors. Drug and alcohol problems or "difficult patients" are not likely to get a family doctor. This series continues all summer.

WHITE COAT-BLACK ART: Summer Program: which airs every Wed June 27th to Aug 29th, also airs on Sundays at 11:00am

On White Coat- Black Art: "auditioning the patient". People who are searching for a family doctor are in the unfortunate position of trying to find a new one. This is an ordeal. It used to be that patients would interview several doctors and choose the one they liked best. Now, the tables have turned.

Most doctors don't accept new patients. Those who do have to complete an application form, then submit to an interview with the GP, frequently called a "meet and greet". Sometimes, patients don't make it to the interview stage at all.

In the medical profession, patients without family doctors are called "orphan patients" and they usually frequent walk-in or "orphan clinics". All about this in the augural episode of White Coat, Black Art, from both patients and doctors. That's on White Coat-Black Art this morning at 9:30 (10:00NT) on Radio One.


You know, that's just plain scary! I know it's difficult for some patients to find doctors to treat them; however, in my experience, these are usually patients who absolutely refuse to comply with any sort of regimen to maintain their health. These patients bounce from doctor to doctor looking for one who will tell them they need do nothing for themselves in order not to be sick, and include diabetics who won't follow their diet, sufferers of COPD who refuse to quit smoking, and others like that. That's hard enough for me to contemplate, but I can almost understand the doctors' reluctance to treat them. However, to think that people could just be turned away because a doctor "isn't accepting new patients" gives me the creeps. Thankfully, we don't see a lot of that here where I live.


"Most doctors don't accept new patients. Those who do have to complete an application form, then submit to an interview with the GP, frequently called a "meet and greet". Sometimes, patients don't make it to the interview stage at all."

I have never had that happen, and I've never heard of anyone who did? Maybe things are different out west?

Anyways, I have two ideas about this. Not directed at you, HeartArt, but about the show in general:

1. Doctors should be able to set a limit on the number of patients they see, for THEIR sanity. A true professional knows their limits and doesn't take on too much.

2. I am thinking that if I were ever to practice, I may have to weed out the patients who were difficult, and by difficult I mean verbally abusive. Having someone yelling at me really upsets me and you know who suffers from that? Me, and the patients I see next while I'm still rattled. That's not fair. I have to remain emotionally stable or I risk relapsing into depression. If my health is threatened, I'm of no use to the other patients who rely on me. And all this for the sake of being all-inclusive? No. All I'm saying is, the Dr. may have personal reasons for refusing one certain type of patient. They know their limits. I think the "blanket refusers" are in the minority, because most went into the profession to help people through challenging illnesses like MI and addiction.

And, can I say that I find the title, "White coat, black art" extremely offensive? Black arts=magick used for evil purposes - how more offensive can you get than saying a profession has evil intentions? Think of how up in arms people would be if they did a show on nurses entitled "blue scrubs, black art." Honestly, you'll have a hell of a time finding one physician who didn't go into this with noble intentions. They're out there, for sure, but they are in the minority.


"Most doctors don't accept new patients. Those who do have to complete an application form, then submit to an interview with the GP, frequently called a "meet and greet". Sometimes, patients don't make it to the interview stage at all."

This has happened to me and the only reason I made it to the interview stage is because I had a personal referal. Not recently but in the past I have certainly met some 'un-noble' doctors and I know people who went to med school mainly because they had pushy parents who could afford to pay for their education. Doctors certainly have the right to limit the number of patients they see but I do think that every person has the right to medical care.

If I do not drink or smoke or take drugs, exercise regularly, eat properly all the time, limit my salt intake and my exposure to pollutants, avoid stress and sex (no STD's please) sleep well every night, etc. then why would I need a doctor? Accidents? not if I am careful and avoid risky behavior. Getting old? No need for a doctor if I have led a healthy lifestyle and done all the self testing and I must be sure to take CPR and first aid courses just in case. If all else fails I can always call for euthanasia. Sorry about the rant but I am one of those very imperfect people who could easily be refused medical care. Mari


Miette, you make some good points and I don't know about doctor shortages across Canada but I thought it was similar in all provinces?

I have called doctors offices (random choice near where I live) when I moved to Toronto and was told they were not taking anymore patients. That was over the phone by the secretary. There was no opportunity for an application. I drove two hours to my long time family doctor for 1 yr., where I used to live.

Finally, I asked our health and safety department at work if they knew of any doctors taking new patients. I got lucky and have a wonderful, GP. It was weird that there were so few doctors taking patients. I hear it all the time from people I know who's doctor has retired or they are new to the area. That is another issue that is going to create an even bigger problem in the near future. There are many doctors coming up to retirement age and they may be taking it!

This show is hosted by a doctor and does have a balanced view with most of the voices being from doctors themselves. It is really interesting and I hope I can catch the other shows over the summer.

Last edited:

just mary


Last summer I needed a new doctor and I went through a preliminary interview. I didn't think it was for the doctor to determine whether or not he wanted me as a patient but perhaps it was.

Anyway, I did a search for "White Coat, Black Art" as I find this topic really interesting. I found an interview with the author of the show, his name is Dr. Brian Goldman and the web address of the interview is:

In the interview he addresses why he called the show "White coat, black art", as follows:

The title tells what the show is all about. White Coat is about the veneer; about what we see on the outside. Black Art is about the voodoo. All the stuff that doctors, nurses, and other health professionals swear by?the lessons that they learn as they go along from hard-bought experience?but the kind of stuff they may not talk about.

I don't believe he meant it to be offensive. He's a doctor himself and seems to take a very balanced approach to the topic.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's segment.

Replying is not possible. This forum is only available as an archive.