Ending the Physician-Patient Relationship Draft Policy (Consultation Closed)

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    The deadline to provide feedback is February 10, 2017

    Our Process

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    The College’s Ending the Physician Patient Relationship policy is currently being reviewed. A revised draft of the policy has been developed and is being circulated for external consultation. This policy sets out expectations for physicians who end the physician-patient relationship for any reason other than the physician’s retirement, relocation, leave of absence, or as a result of disciplinary action by the College.

    View the draft policy

    We are inviting feedback from all stakeholders, including members of the medical profession, the public, health system organizations and other health professionals on the revised draft policy. Comments received during this consultation will assist in developing a final policy which will be considered for final approval by Council.


    We want to hear your thoughts on the draft policy…



    The College’s current Ending the Physician-Patient Relationship policy sets out expectations for physicians who end the physician-patient relationship for any reason other than the physician’s retirement, relocation, leave of absence, or as a result of disciplinary action by the College. It requires physicians to always act in the best interest of their patients, while also recognizing that an effective doctor-patient relationship is necessary for the provision of quality care.

    Although the policy permits physicians to end the physician-patient relationship in a number of circumstances, it requires physicians to do so without discrimination, and exercising good clinical judgment and compassion. This policy is now being reviewed in accordance with the College’s regular policy review cycle, and a new draft has been developed which updates the current policy in a number of important ways.

    Key Features of the Draft

    Overall, the draft policy retains the key content and central principles of the current policy, while changes have been made to enhance clarity and flow, address issues that have come to light since the last review, and ensure alignment and consistency with other College policies.

    The key features of the draft policy include (this list is not exhaustive):

        • A more direct focus on the conflicts that can arise between a physician’s ethical and professional obligation to provide care to a specific patient and their competing duties and obligations (such as a physician’s responsibility to ensure a safe and respsectful environment for all patients);
        • Clarification that the expectations of the policy apply to physicians practising family medicine as well as physicians practising in all other speciality areas;
        • Updated expectations regarding the actions a  physician must undertake prior to ending the physician-patient relationship;
        • Updated guidance for physicians who are considering ending the physician-patient relationship in specific circumstances, including where there has been a breakdown in mutual trust and respect.

    Have Your Say

    We would like to hear your thoughts on the draft policy. In particular, we are interested to know:

        • Does the draft policy provide useful guidance?
        • Are there issues not addressed in the draft policy that should be addressed? If so, what are they?
        • Are there other ways in which the draft policy could be improved?

    Please provide your feedback by February 10, 2017

    Next Steps

    The College is committed to ensuring that the Ending the Physician-Patient Relationship policy reflects current practice issues, embodies the values and duties of medical professionalism, and is consistent with the College’s mandate to protect the public. The feedback obtained during this consultation will be carefully reviewed and used to evaluate the revised draft.

    To ensure transparency, the College will post all consultation feedback in accordance with our posting guidelines.

    While it may not be possible to ensure that every comment or suggested edit will be incorporated into the final policy, all comments will be carefully considered. Final decisions regarding policy revisions are made by College Council. Once a final draft has been approved, a copy will be posted on this page as well as the College’s website.

    We value your feedback and thank you again for participating in our policy review process.  _____________________________________________________________________________

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    Send us your feedback by mail:

    College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario 80 College Street Toronto, Ontario M5G2E2 Attention: Policy Department