Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Family Health Team (FHT)?

A Family Health Team (FHT) is an approach to primary health care that brings together different health care providers to co-ordinate the highest possible quality of care for you - the patient. Our team consists of doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and other health care professionals who work collaboratively, each utilizing their experience and skills within the clinic to provide you with the very best and most up-to-date care, when you need it.

What is primary care?

Primary care refers to “essential health care” that is accessible to all individuals and families in a community.

How will the FHT benefit me?

The services focus on primary health care including disease prevention, health promotion and disease management.

How much will this cost me?
There is no cost to you except for services not covered by OHIP, please see below. All the programs and services offered by Central Lambton FHT are funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
Is the Central Lambton FHT a walk-in clinic?
No, we are not a walk-in clinic, but we strive to provide same day/next day access.
What are Family Health Team hours?
Office hours are Monday to Friday 9 am – 4:30 pm. Phone are not answered from 12- 1 pm for lunch. A reception staff is available at the front desk over the noon hour provide assistance as needed. On Fridays, phone lines are not answered after 2 pm. This allows staff and doctors to complete paperwork.
What is my responsibility as a patient?

To better serve your health needs, it is important to keep all your personal information current in our records. Please inform reception of any changes to your address, home, work and/or cell phone number(s), and pharmacy you use for your prescription needs.

Please bring your health card to every visit. It is the patient's responsibility to carry a valid health card. If you need to renew your health card, Service Ontario is located  at Petrolia Specialty and Rubber Stamps store in Petrolia. No appointment is needed, but they require ID for each renewal. Please visit the Service Ontario Website for more information.

*OHIP does not cover the cost of the visit if patients do not have a valid, up to date health card.

Patients will be charged for their visit if they have already been informed by our front staff and come in to see their physician without a current health card.

Will I get to see my own doctor?
Yes. The Family Health Team is a group approach to health care where your doctor will be able to focus on your complex medical needs and provide you different health care professionals.
Are there after hours appointments available?

At this time, the Ministry Of Health exempts the Central Lambton FHT from providing evening and weekend hours. Some programs and/or groups are offered in the evening.

Will I see my doctor when I am admitted to hospital?

Acutely ill patients who are admitted to the CEE Hospital site will see their primary doctor each day during their routine rounds. During vacation, conference leave, or other time away, arrangements will be made for patients to be seen by another physician.

Do the doctors provide obstetric care?

The doctors provide pre and postnatal care to expectant mothers and newborns. We usually refer to the delivering obstetrician after 28 weeks pregnancy.

Are surgical procedures offered at the clinic?

Some minor surgical procedures such as biopsies are completed in our office, although patients may be scheduled for such procedures by their own doctor in the hospital emergency room.

Will I always see my family physician at my appointments?

Not necessarily. Booking schedules of individual doctors vary from week to week, depending on emergency on-call duties, nursing home visits, meetings and patient load.

Sometimes you may see another member of our interdisciplinary team such as a nurse practitioner, physician assistant or resident doctor. The option to see other providers helps to give patients more access to care if their physician is not available.

Why are medical residents and students at the clinic?

The Central Lambton Family Health Team has partnered for many years with the University of Western Ontario Schulich School of Medicine. This partnership has allowed medical students and medical residents the opportunity to train in our clinic, under the tutelage of our dynamic staff physicians, in learning rural medicine.

While here, the students and residents spend anywhere from one week if they are observing our physicians, or two years if they are training to be family physicians. You may see them in the clinic, in the hospital, or in the Emergency Rooms. Many of them have heard of the exciting opportunities for learning rural medicine and all it offers in Petrolia, and about our physicians’ enthusiasm for teaching, and specifically request to come here for their learning.

If you happen to see a medical student or resident, please welcome them to our community and make them feel at home!

What is the difference between a student and a resident?

Student – Sometimes called “Clinical Clerk”, a medical student has not finished all the required years of training yet, and is either shadowing the family physician to gain exposure, or is spending a few weeks with their assigned physician to learn more about rural family medicine. They are still young in their training, and do not have the authority to dispense medical advice nor write prescriptions. The physicians will ALWAYS come back to see the patient after the student had an opportunity to speak to them first, and go over the findings from the student interactions.

Resident – A resident is a licensed medical doctor doing additional training in family medicine. They have the authority to see the patient without the direct visual supervision of their assigned physician. They can dispense medical advice and can write prescriptions. It is important to understand that your family physician will ALWAYS review with the resident doctor their interaction with you, and how to improve that interaction for future encounters. The resident physicians are very grateful to see you, the patient, to enhance their training and learning. By allowing them to examine you and discuss with you the medical concerns you have, you are enhancing their learning. All the staff family physicians at the Central Lambton Family Health Team trained that way, and they are training the future generation of family physicians the same way. Your support to continuing medical education by allowing resident physician encounters is truly appreciated.

Are home visits available?

Home visits may be provided by some doctors and health care professionals (i.e. chiropodist, nurse practitioner, dietitian etc) to patients who are physically incapable of coming to the office, palliative (terminally ill), living in Petrolia or nearby areas.

Can I use your services without being a rostered patient of one of your doctors?

The services of the Central Lambton FHT are only available to patients rostered to the nine doctors in the group. Dr. Butler, Dr. Daniel, Dr. Al-Dhaher, Dr. Mall, Dr. Al-Attar, Dr. Taylor, Dr. Wang, Dr. Riedl and Dr. Li

How do I book an appointment?

Please call to book an appointment. The receptionist answering the phone will ask how your call can be directed. Based on the situation, the call will be directed to the receptionist who is responsible for booking patients for that provider. The goal is to help streamline calls and promote continuity in care.

Please tell the receptionist the nature of the visit at the time of booking. (i.e. prescription refill, counseling, diabetic review, pap smear, driver’s medical) – This information is necessary to the proper amount of time can be booked in the schedule as some issues take longer than others. Physical exams take half an hour which may mean they may need to be booked weeks in advance. Please call well in advance for prescription renewals, not the day they run out as there may not be availability for booking.

Why does the receptionist ask me why I am requesting to see the doctor?
The reason we ask for the nature of the visit is because we want to ensure you have the right amount of time and the appropriate health care provider. All information provided by the patient is strictly confidential.

What if I miss an appointment?

Missed appointments happen but cause major issues. That appointment could have been used by another patient. This causes an increase in booking and wait times for both your and other patients. Please call to cancel if you cannot attend your appointment.

How do I cancel an appointment?

Please contact the office the day before or the morning of your appointment by 10am (for afternoon appointments) to ensure the appointment is cancelled.

You can call the office 24 hours a day and a recorded message will provide the option to press 2 to leave a message to cancel.

Charges may be applied for repeated missed appointments.

What if I am late for an appointment?

Please check in with the reception staff. They will consult with the health professional for direction. If you are 5-10 minutes late for an appointment it may result in the health care provider not being able to see you as they need to move onto the next patient in their schedule.

What is an allied health care professional and which ones are available at the Central Lambton FHT?

Allied health are a group of health care professionals who work in partnership with the physicians to provide care. At Central Lambton FHT allied health care includes: Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Dietitian, Chiropodist (foot care), Clinical Pharmacist, Social Workers, Diabetic Nurse, Health Promotion Nurse and additional nursing staff.

What is a Nurse Practitioner (NP)?

A nurse practitioner provides care to patients of all ages with a focus on preventing disease, promoting good health and curing illness. They are part of your health care team and consult with your physician as need. Nurse Practitioner’s play an important role in helping you to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle, and to understand and/or treat your illness. They also work with your community to promote good health and prevent disease. As a member of your health care team, NPs offer a variety of health care services including the ability to: 

  • diagnose and treat illness and/or injuries,
  • perform physical check-ups, 
  • order and interpret diagnostic tests, 
  • write prescriptions 
  • provide counselling and education, 
  • provide supportive care through illness, 
  • provide treatments and/or procedures  
  • make referrals

** Nurse Practitioners at Central Lambton FHT DO NOT prescribe narcotics or controlled substances. They can consult your physician who may provide the prescription based on your care needs.

What is a Physician Assistant (PA)?

PAs support doctors in a range of health care settings and provide care under the supervision of a registered doctors.  The doctor and PA work together to define the PA’s role and practice parameters which may evolve and change over time. 

Duties may include:

  • Conducting patient interviews and taking medical histories
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Performing certain controlled acts delegated to them by a doctor
  • Providing counselling on preventive health care
What services are not covered by OHIP?

OHIP covers a wide range of health services. A brief description of insured services is available from http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/ohip/ohipfaq_mn.aspx

Some fees are not covered by OHIP. Therefore the patient is responsible for paying for these services. A receipt is provided to the patient after they pay. Keep these receipts as they may be used for income tax purposes or may be reimbursed by private insurance.

Examples of uninsured services are:

  • some wart or skin tag removals
  • back to work and/or school notes
  • massage letter
  • physiotherapist notes
  • physical examinations such as: commercial driver, employer medical, insurance medical, camp and school medical, adoptive parent medical
  • completion of government and employment forms
  • travel immunization and counseling fees
  • insurance certificates and reports
  • copy and transfer of medical records
What are my rights as a patient
  • You have the right to be treated with consideration, courtesy and respect in a way that fully recognizes your dignity, individuality and cultural background.
  • You have the right to privacy in care for your personal needs.
  • You have the right to information concerning your medical condition, in terms you can understand.
  • You have the right to participate in decisions regarding your care.
  • You have the right to an explanation about your treatment and tests including benefits, risks and alternatives.
  • You have the right to give or refuse consent for treatment, including medication and to be informed of the consequences of giving or refusing treatment.
  • You have the right to confidentiality of all information.
  • You have the right to know the identity and profession of those responsible for your care.
  • You have the right to express any concerns by contacting the Executive Director
  • Persons with special needs or handicaps have the right to reasonable accommodation in accordance with the law.