Keeping Doors Open

Primary care is the front door of the healthcare system. Early in the pandemic, there was concern that this front door may have started to close as anecdotal reports suggested some family practices were contemplating closing their doors either completely or for in-person visits. Between May and October 2020, our team reached out to family doctors (FPs) and general practitioners (GPs) providing comprehensive care in the city of Toronto to determine the extent and causes behind practice closures, and explore how to support affected practices and patients.

Key findings:

  • During wave 1 of COVID-19, the vast majority of family practices were open and providing care to their patients.
  • Closure seemed more common earlier in the pandemic and among physicians who were in practice for more than 40 years.
  • The most commonly cited reasons for closure, in rank order, were health concerns, a lack of PPE, and PPE costs.

In addition to an interim report, the team has produce a one-page handout for the public to confirm that family doctors’ offices are largely open; that virtual care is care; and what to do in case your doctor’s office is closed.

View the Keeping the Doors Open: Maintaining Primary Care Access and Continuity During COVID-19 Interim Report (256 KB)