My partner and I are thinking of packing up and moving to Canada. He’s currently a GP in the UK and is investigating the possibility of practicing in Canada. The licensing process seems long-winded, but do-able.
We’re not exactly sure how the Canadian health service works from either the physician’s or the patient’s point of view.
In the UK the GP is the first point of call for everyone. Everyone can sign on to a specific GP’s list (providing s/he is taking on patients) and all visits are free no matter how often. Further care is provided by assorted Consultants in specialist or hospital settings and is also fully covered by the NHS. Physicians are paid by the NHS and the rate of pay is dependent on the number of individuals on their list (not the number of consultations), and also on meeting certain targets set by the health service. Some physicians (especially consultants) supplement their income by taking private patients and are then paid directly by the patient or by private insurance.
In the USA (which I’m personally more familiar with) each physician (or group practice) is a private business and bills the various private insurance companies (or medicare/medicaid) for services provided - or bills the patient directly, depending.
Is there anyone here who can explain to us how the Canadian system works? Who pays, when, and how?