Out of towners and residents of Montreal/Quebec both know how the province's health care system can be a little, well, let's just say crowded. And at certain times, very crowded, to the point that you question why you went to the hospital/clinic in the first place.

One of reddit's r/Quebec moderators sought to help those in medical need with a tips and tricks guide to Quebec's health care. We went through the original post  to find the best solutions to problems you've no doubt experienced when trying to see the doctor.  Read on and learn from the best.

Make A Call

Before you even get it into your head that you need a doctor, call Info-Santé first and find out your best options. Simply by dialing 811, you'll be speaking with a healthcare professional in seconds, who will let you know the best course of action, and whether you should go to the hospital, a clinic, or the local pharmacy.

Talk To A Pharmacist

Speaking of pharmacies, directly talking to a pharmacist can save you tons of time and money. A pharmacist, found at any local pharmacy (duh), will help you to diagonse your ailment and even get you the treatment needed to get you better. If you have bronchitis, a pharmacist can give you the proper medicine without even having to see a doctor. When all other pharmacies are closed, hit up this 24hr Pharmaprix.

Order of Hospital Priority

In dire situations, you simply need to go to the hospital. Wait-times can be incredibly long, and for a good reason. Every hospital follows a priority hierarchy for patients, based on who needs attention the soonest. Hospitals are unlike clinics in this respect, and this order of priortiy will always be adhered to, no matter if you arrived before someone else.

  • Priority 1: Cardiac arrest, trauma, risk of imminent death. (wait time : usually zero)
  • Priority 2: Risk of becoming septic, severe respiratory problems and fever, bleeding, without immediate risk of death (wait time: as soon at the doctor is available)
  • Priority 3: Fever present, possibility of broken bone, serious infection risk, patient is sick and shouldn't be sent home (wait time: 12 to 24 hours)
  • Priority 4: None of the above. The patient shouldn't even be in the hospital. (wait time : 24 to 48 hours)
  • Special : Intestinal distress. Most hospitals (if not all) has exactly one bed for intestinal distress.

When to go to a Clinic

Hospitals aren't always your only way to see a doctor, as  Montreal's many clinics are open to give you some needed health care. Anyone who has been to a clinic knows wait-times can be atrocious, and frustrating, so consider shopping around your area for clinics before you commit to one. How they take appointments should be the thing to look for:

  • By Appointment: Certain clinics will take your name and give you a time to come back and visit the doctor, or even just call it in. Quite rare, but quite convenient, so be happy if you find one of these gems.
  • By List: Most clinics take patients in the morning (or lunch) and fill out a list of patients depending on who is there. Know when the clinic opens so you can get there at least 3 hours earlier. Most clinics are 98% full after the doctor arrives (30 minutes after the secretary).

Hospital and Clinic Hacks

No matter if you're going to a hospital or clinic, here are some pro-tips for when both are packed, or generally empty.

  • During a Montréal Canadiens game, it's usually less busy in hospitals (go figure)
  • Weekends are almost always jam-packed in hospitals because most clinics are closed
  • Fridays are generally reserved by small clinics for pre-made appointments. Know which clinics do that and avoid them on Fridays AND Thursdays (because regulars of that clinic know about the Friday situation)
  • If the newspapers talk about the flu or some other sickness, avoid hospitals. All 'dem hypochondriacs automatically assume they're sick and need medical attention.
  • If a clinic explains that they can't help you simply because you don't live in the area, simply ask them the name of the doctor and their coordinate and to which CAAP (Comité d'aide et d'assistance au Plainte) they report. The CAAP exists to help health care users complain about health care. Just asking will set the clinic straight.

Were these tips and tricks useful?

For all things Montreal, follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte 
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