Physicans dating patients

For specialist physicians, the expectations of this policy apply only when ending the physician-patient relationship prior to reaching the normal or expected conclusion of the patient’s treatment or assessment (for example, as the result of a significant conflict with the patient).

When, in the normal course of providing care, a specialist’s involvement with a patient reaches its natural or expected conclusion (for example, because the treatment or assessment have concluded, and/or the patient’s care has been transferred back to their referring physician), this policy does not apply.

Where these qualities are absent or have been undermined, the provision of quality care may be compromised.

In some limited cases, however, a patient may pose a genuine risk of harm to the physician, the physician’s staff, or to other patients.

In these cases, it may not be possible or safe to attempt to resolve the conflict with the patient directly, and physicians are under no obligation to engage with the patient prior to ending the physician-patient relationship.

In every case, physicians must bear in mind that ending the physician-patient relationship may have significant consequences for the patient, for example, by limiting their access to care, or by reducing their level of trust in the medical profession.

For this reason, physicians must undertake reasonable efforts to resolve the situation affecting their ability to provide care in the best interest of the patient, and only consider ending the physician-patient relationship where those efforts have been unsuccessful.

Furthermore, this policy does not apply in situations where a physician ends the physician-patient relationship due to the physician’s retirement, relocation, leave of absence, or as a result of disciplinary action by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

When considering whether to end the physician-patient relationship, physicians must apply good clinical judgment and compassion in each case to determine the most appropriate course of action.While this relationship is of central importance to the practice of medicine, circumstances may sometimes arise which lead either the physician or the patient to end the physician-patient relationship.This policy sets expectations for physicians when ending the physician-patient relationship.The following examples include situations in which it may be appropriate to end the physician-patient relationship; however, each case is ultimately fact-specific.Physicians must always use their own professional judgment, in keeping with this policy, to determine whether discontinuing the relationship is appropriate.These expectations reflect both the fiduciary nature of the physician’s role, as well as the inherent vulnerability of patients when faced with the discontinuation of care.

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