Ensuring Competence: Changing Scope of Practice and/or Re-entering Practice (Consultation Closed)

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    The deadline to provide feedback is December 4, 2017.

    Our Process

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    The College’s Changing Scope of Practice and Re-entering Practice policies are currently being reviewed. A new draft policy entitled Ensuring Competence: Changing Scope of Practice and/or Re-entering Practice has been developed and is being circulated for external consultation. This draft policy sets out expectations for physicians, including reporting to the College and participating in a college review process, to ensure that when physicians propose to significantly change their scope of practice and/or to re-enter practice after an extended absence they have the competence necessary to practise safely.

    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 Council.

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    We want to hear your thoughts on the draft policy…

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    Background

    The College’s current Changing Scope of Practice and Re-entering Practice policies, which were originally approved by Council in 2000, and last reviewed in 2008, respectively articulate expectations for physicians who have changed or intend to change their scope of practice and for physicians who wish to re-enter practice after a prolonged absence. These expectations include reporting to the College and participating in a College process to ensure that physicians have the necessary competence to practise in a new area and/or re-enter practice.

    Key Features of the Draft Policy

        • The two current policies have been combined into one draft policy. Overall, the draft policy retains the general expectations set out in the current policies; however, two substantive changes are being proposed:
            1. 1) The reporting requirement has been changed from three to two years, when:
            2. Physicians intend to re-enter practice and have not been engaged in practice for a period of two consecutive years or more; and
            3. Physicians intend to return to a scope of practice in which they have not practised for two consecutive years or more.
            4. 2) Physicians in part-time practice (physicians who have practised less than six months in the preceding five-year period) are no longer captured by the policy.
        • A number of minor amendments are also being proposed, which include the following:
            1. The draft policy clarifies that it does not apply to physicians who intend to change their scope of practice to, or to those who intend to re-enter teaching, research, or administrative practice, where there is no assessment or treatment of patients involved.
            2. A description of what constitutes a significant change in scope of practice has been included in an Appendix to the draft policy along with examples of changes in scope of practice that are considered by the College to be significant.
            3. The draft policy clarifies that physician reporting of the intention to change scope of practice or re-enter practice must be done prior to changing scope of practice or re-entering practice and that physicians must not practise in a new scope of practice or re-enter practice until the College approves their request.
            4. The College processes which physicians must undergo before changing scope and re-entering practice have been refined and combined into one document.

    Have Your Say

    We would like to hear your thoughts on the draft policy.

    In particular, we are interested to know:

          1. Does the draft policy provide useful guidance?
          2. Does the draft policy clearly articulate when reporting changes in scope of practice and re-entry to practice is required?
          3. Does the draft policy clearly set out the College’s process for ensuring competence when physicians wish to change their scope of practice or re-enter practice?
          4. Are there issues not addressed in the draft policy that should be addressed? If so, what are they?
          5. Are there other ways in which the draft policy could be improved?

    Please provide your feedback by December 4, 2017.

    Next Steps

    The College is committed to ensuring that the Ensuring Competence: Changing Scope of Practice and/or Re-entering Practice 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 draft policy. 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.

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

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

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    View feedback

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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