Patients Switching Family Physicians

Policy Category: Human Resources Effective Date: January 2016
Policy Title: Patients Switching Family Physicians Review Date: January 2019
  Supersedes: none

Policy Title: Patients Switching Family Physicians

A question that occasionally arises at the Village Family Health Team is whether patients are able to switch among different physicians,

Village FHT does not support patients switching among family physicians because we:

  • practice a team-based approach to care;
  • work to maximize physician availability;
  • believe this policy supports sound decision making.

Continuity of care between patient and primary care physician is important. Maintaining a long term family physician/patient relationship reduces the risks associated with patient hand-overs, an event which can be associated with a greater probability for loss of information or disruption to a plan of care. If a physicians’ approach is not meeting their needs, patients are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their physician to discuss their concerns. Village FHT offers extended appointment times to enable a more in-depth patient-physician conversation. Just ask reception to schedule a longer appointment.

Village FHT is a collaborative interdisciplinary care team. Each physician is responsible for the care planning for patients registered to them. However the team shares a collective responsibility to ensure access to urgent appointments and coverage while another physician is on vacation. Village FHT also has a common philosophy towards patient care that is shared across the team.

One of the modern challenges for family physicians is the amount of administrative work involved. For every hour of seeing and providing care to patients directly, there may be up to another hour of paperwork and other administrative tasks required. Generally speaking, the proportion of administrative work required has been increasing, commensurate with ever increasing legal and regulatory requirements.

One particularly time-consuming task for physicians is the work associated with taking over responsibility for the care of a patient. On average, every new patient involves several hours of work comprising an initial half-hour meeting, a detailed review of the old medical records, and constructing and configuring an optimized patient medical record. This investment of time and resources is lost in the event of a switch as the new physician needs to redo this entire process. In the aggregate, restricting switches among physicians helps to maximize physician availability to provide face-to-face patient care.

As a professional, it is a physician’s duty to provide appropriate and quality medical care. Fulfilling this duty means sometimes saying no to patient requests or making an unpopular treatment recommendation. In a collaborative team-based clinic, allowing switches among physicians undermines this duty. Furthermore, it creates a sometimes uncomfortable situation whereby the new physician is put in a position of conflicting loyalty to his/her colleague versus his /her newly acquired patient.

For the reasons above, all physicians and allied team members of Village FHT advocate for a policy that supports continuity of care and ultimately restricts patients switching among physicians.

Health Resources

Updated - April 6, 2021

Vaccine Resources 

COVID Vaccines are now more available with eligibility criteria changing rapidly to include more people. We encourage you to schedule a vaccination appointment when you become eligible. We are writing to provide information about where to schedule a vaccine based on different eligibility criteria.

People age 60+ years, can register to be vaccinated at any of the nine Toronto Public Health Mass Vaccine Clinics. Here is the link:

https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/

Other eligibility criteria (including High Risk health care worker, Hot Spot Communities, High Risk Chronic Conditions) can register at community-based vaccine clinics. Eligibility criteria vary by clinic and change quickly. Please check back regularly to see if you are eligible to register.

The link to review eligibility, and book appointments at community clinics can be found here: https://vaccineto.ca/sites

Liberty Village, and other surrounding areas, are currently considered “Hot Spot Communities”. If you are 50 year of age or older, and residing in these high-risk areas, please see below for

For Postal Codes starting with: M6K  M6N  M8V  M9A  M9B  M9C  M9R  M9V  M9W, please book your appointment at Unity Health: https://unityhealth.to/covid-19-vaccination-at-unity-health/

For Postal Codes starting with: M5V  M6E  M6H, please book your appointment at UHN: https://www.uhn.ca/COVID19_Vaccine

High Risk Chronic Conditions

There are many chronic health conditions that will be prioritized for vaccination. They will be listed on the vaccine clinic’s registration site. Eligibility is changing regularly. Please check your preferred vaccine clinic to determine eligibility criteria. You are not required to bring a note from your physician confirming that you have the medical condition. You are encouraged to bring along some of your medication to show to the vaccine team, if asked, and if applicable. Locally, Unity Health and UHN are currently vaccinating individuals in the “Highest Risk” and “High Risk” Categories (for a detailed list, please see link: https://unityhealth.to/covid-19-vaccination-at-unity-health/)

Village Family Health Team is open and seeing patients. As per By-Law, a face covering is required for everyone except children under 2. For the safety of you and our team, you will be asked screening questions before your appointment. If you require someone to attend your appointment with you, please limit to one additional person.

Saturday Clinic:  Please Note:

Due to Covid-19, Saturday walk-in clinic is suspended. Patients are advised to call on Saturday mornings and schedule a virtual appointment with the doctor . Walk-in will no longer be accepted.
9:00am - 12:00pm (Urgent care only)- Last registration is 11.00am