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OBJECTIVE: To assess how many residents follow the recommendation that physicians have a personal family physician and where residents seek medical attention when needed. DESIGN: Hand-delivered survey. SETTING Residency training programs at Queen's University. PARTICIPANTS: Of 215 residents with a central mailbox, 122 responded (response rate 57%). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Health status, usual access to health care, having a personal family physician, and response to two scenarios. RESULTS: More than a third (38%) of residents have a local family physician, yet 25% of those with chronic illnesses and 40% of those who use prescription medications regularly do not. Many rely on colleagues; 41% have received prescriptions from or written prescriptions for their colleagues. Residents with local family physicians are more likely to seek appropriate medical attention for physical problems. Residents do not recognize or seek treatment for mental health problems. Knowledge, time, and accessibility were considered barriers to adequate health care. CONCLUSION: Many residents do not have good access to comprehensive, confidential, and objective medical care. They rely on colleagues, and they ignore mental health problems. Lack of time and access, and attitudes about the importance of having a family physician are important barriers.