Accepting New Patients Draft Policy – General Consultation (Consultation Closed)

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    The deadline to provide feedback is February 10, 2017

    Our Process

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    The College’s Accepting New Patients policy is currently under review.  A draft of the policy has been developed and is being circulated for external consultation. The draft policy sets out physicians’ professional and legal obligations when accepting new patients. The policy emphasizes that physicians must accept new patients in a manner that is fair, transparent, and respectful of the rights, autonomy, dignity and diversity of all prospective patients.

    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 draft policy. Comments received during this consultation will assist in developing a final policy which will be considered for final approval by College Council.


    We want to hear your thoughts on the draft policy…



    The Accepting New Patients policy was first approved by Council in September 2008 and last updated in 2009. The policy is currently under review in accordance with the CPSO’s regular policy review cycle. The policy sets out physicians’ professional and legal obligations when accepting new patients and emphasizes that physicians must accept new patients in a fair and professional manner. The policy sets out that this is achieved, in part, by accepting new patients on a first-come, first-served basis.

    A Working Group has been struck to undertake the policy review. In developing the draft policy, the Working Group considered a range of information including the research undertaken, results from a public poll of a representative sample of Ontarians, and feedback received during the preliminary consultation held on the current policy.

    Key Features of the Draft

    Overall, the draft policy retains the key expectations and central principles of the current policy.  Changes have been made to enhance clarity and flow, to address issues not currently addressed by the policy, and to ensure alignment and consistency with other College policies.

    The key features of the draft policy include:

      • Expansion of the scope of the draft policy to clarify that the policy applies to all physicians, and those acting on their behalf, regardless of practice area or specialty.
      • An additional principle to emphasize physicians’ professional obligation to respect patient autonomy and a patient’s freedom of choice of health‐care provider.
      • Clarification of the appropriateness of the use of introductory tools such as ‘meet and greet’ appointments and medical questionnaires.
      • Explanation of  how the first‐come, first‐served approach is to be applied in circumstances where physicians:
          • Limit their practices due to clinical competence, scope of practice and/or a focused practice area;
          • Provide specialty care; and/or
          • Maintain a waiting list of prospective new patients.
      • Two circumstances where physicians may deviate from the ‘first‐come, first‐served’ approach, including caring for higher need or complex patients and/or caring for family members of current patients.

    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 Accepting New Patients 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.


    View feedback

    View the feedback received to date

    Send us your feedback by mail:

    College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario 80 College Street Toronto, Ontario M5G2E2

    Attention: Policy Department