Dialogue Volume 13 Issue 2 2017 - Page 31

policy matters What to consider before ending the physician-patient relationship Clinical judgment, compassion key to determining course of action External Consultation Dates held: December 12th, 2016 – February 10th, 2017 # of Respondents: 104 C ouncil has approved a policy that provides more explicit guidance with respect to the circumstances in which it may be appropriate to end the physician- patient relationship, and the cir- cumstances in which it is not. The policy, which was last up- dated in 2008, sets out key princi- ples and expectations for physicians when ending the physician-patient relationship for any reason other than the physician’s retirement, relocation, leave of absence, or as a result of disciplinary action by the College. When considering whether to end the relationship, the Ending the Physician-Patient Relation- ship policy requires physicians to apply good clinical judgment and compassion in each case to deter- mine the most appropriate course of action. In every case, physicians must bear in mind that ending the physi- cian-patient relationship may have significant consequences for the pa- tient, for example, by limiting their access to care. Abruptly discontinu- ing treatment of a patient who is on opioids, for example, could lead to fatal consequences for those patients with an opioid use disorder as they turn to highly potent street sources. The above is just one example why physicians must undertake reasonable efforts to resolve the situation affecting their ability to provide care in the best interest Breakdown of respondents: 77% physicians 13% public 6% Unidentified 4% organizations Changes Made in Response to Feedback: YES NO Issue 2, 2017 Dialogue 31