Switching or Transferring to Another Family Physician

 

POLICY 

For various reasons, patients may wish to switch or transfer to a new family physician.  It is in the interest of patients, physicians, and the Clinic that the patient/doctor relationship be positive.

If a patient is not happy with their family physician, patients are encouraged to speak with their family doctor directly about any concerns they may have.

Patients can transfer from one family physician to another family physician within the Clinic only if the new physician agrees to the transfer request.  Timing of acceptance into the practice of the new physician will vary.  Patients will be contacted on a first come – first served basis and invited to join a new practice when space is available.

If the new physician has a wait list, patients approved for transfer will generally be placed on a waiting list with all other patients currently awaiting an appointment with the new physician. (Time on the wait list can be up to 4 months depending on the physician).

Patients who have had an initial visit with a family physician and wish to switch to another family doctor taking patients, will be accepted into the practice of new physician according to the new physician’s availability and may include being added to that physicians’ wait list and booked accordingly.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

When requesting to transfer to a new physician, patients should be aware:

a)       The physicians at the Albany Medical Clinic work as a team to provide primary care. A patient may see a doctor other than their own family doctor for care in the Walk-in if their doctor is not available. And, although a patient may leave one doctor at our Clinic for another – the original doctor may still be involved in providing health care and a patient may still have to interact with them.

b)      It is difficult for a physician to provide objective medical care in the patient’s best interest, especially in situations in which their professional opinion conflicts with a patient’s request. A common situation in which this occurs is when a patient requests a prescription for a controlled medication (such as narcotic painkillers), and the physician’s professional opinion is that this is not safe or appropriate.  Another situation that arises is when a family physician may say no to patient requests or may make an unpopular treatment recommendation.

Patients may be disappointed when they switch doctors expecting different diagnoses, decisions on ordering tests or prescribing certain treatments – only to find that the new doctor holds the same opinion as the original doctor.

If a patient is not happy with how their family physician is providing care, and wish an independent second opinion, the best option on getting an independent second opinion – is seeing a physician at a different clinic altogether.  There are many medical offices in the city of Toronto area. Patients can also register with Health Care Connect (once the relationship with the current doctor has ended) and they will help to match a patient to a doctor who is accepting patients.

If a patient has been barred from the Albany Medical Clinic for abusive, violent, intimidating or threatening behaviour, to protect the safety of all employees in the Clinic, requesting another physician in the Albany Medical Clinic will not be permitted.

August 2018