Physician Services During Disasters and Public Health Emergencies – General Consultation

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    The deadline to provide feedback is November 14, 2017

    Our Process

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    The College’s Physicians and Health Emergencies policy is currently being reviewed. The policy sets out expectations for physicians during health emergencies. An updated and newly titled Physician Services During Disasters and Public Health Emergencies draft of the policy has been developed and is being circulated for external consultation.

    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.

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    We want to hear your thoughts on the draft policy…

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    Background

    The College’s current Physicians and Health Emergencies policy sets out expectations for physicians during health emergencies. In particular, the current policy requires physicians to provide medical care in accordance with federal, provincial and local emergency plans, and stipulates the conditions under which it is acceptable to temporarily practice outside one’s scope of practice during a health emergency. Additionally, the current policy states an expectation for physicians to stay informed and cooperate with authorities throughout the health emergency.

    Key Features of the Draft

    Overall, the draft policy retains the key content and central principles of the current policy. However, changes have been made to enhance clarity, comprehension, and flow, as well as to address issues not currently addressed by the policy, and to ensure alignment and consistency with other College polices. These changes were made in response to research (including a jurisdictional review), feedback obtained through the preliminary consultation, and trends observed in the context of the College’s regulatory work.

    The key revisions being proposed to the policy are set out below (this list is not exhaustive):

        • The title of the policy has been updated to reflect that the policy explicitly applies to disasters and public health emergencies.
        • The scope of the draft policy has been updated to explicitly clarify that the expectations contained in the policy apply to all physicians, regardless of practice setting or specialty.
        • The draft policy has retained the expectation that physicians be informed throughout the duration of the disaster and/or public health emergency, and includes references to various forms of information that physicians can consult.
        • The draft policy has retained the expectation that physicians must provide services, and has clarified that physician services provided need not be limited to direct care to people in need.
        • It also acknowledges that the nature of the disaster or public health emergency may require physicians to temporarily practice outside one’s scope of practice but that this does not remove the requirement to follow College policy if they elect to change their scope of practice following the health emergency.

    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 November 14, 2017

    Next Steps

    The College is committed to ensuring that the Physician Services During Disasters and Public Health Emergencies draft 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. 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. _____________________________________________________________________________

    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