Your regular physician is required to provide 24-hour care for you, or to arrange coverage with another doctor or a health region facility. After Hours Coverage
If your doctor leaves or closes practice, you should receive adequate notice. Interim care will be provided to you for a reasonable period of time, while you locate a new physician. This includes follow up of outstanding test results and making your medical records available to you and your new doctor. Leaving Practice
During Office Hours
There should be staff available to answer the phone or to respond to voice messages at the doctor’s office during working hours. The physician may not be available to speak to you personally, but general questions will be addressed by the staff. You may not always be able see the doctor for non-urgent care immediately, and you may need to make an appointment.
For non-urgent issues, it is recommended to make an appointment for during office hours.
After Hours Care
As outlined in the College policy on after hours coverage, your regular physician is required to arrange for 24-hour coverage, either through availability by phone, or through transfer of the responsibility to a willing colleague or facility. Information on how to access care should be available through your doctor's office/clinic.
When Changing Doctors
If you are changing physicians, you will need to obtain any necessary medical records, or request the transfer of those records, for the new doctor, if in a different location. You will have to sign a consent for this transfer. There may be a fee charged to transfer your records.
Upon practice closure, your doctor should continue to provide urgent care and prescriptions for you while allowing a reasonable period of time to find a new doctor.
What is fragmented care?
The situation where one patient obtains care from several doctors over the same period of time, without communication between these doctors, is called “fragmented care”. It means less efficient care for you, wastes health care resources, and may also lead to unnecessary tests and procedures since each doctor does not have the full picture of your health care history. This also makes it difficult for a complete medical record to be kept, and increases the chance that aspects of your care will be overlooked. It also increases the risk of medical errors and drug interactions, since each doctor may not be aware of other treatments you have had.
You are discouraged from seeing more than one regular doctor, or from using different clinics for your routine care.