Registrants who are retiring from practice are expected to make reasonable plans and arrangements to ensure good continuity of care for their patients. In general, registrants should have a plan in place well before their date of retirement. Doing so reduces stress on the retiring registrant and benefits patients and colleagues.
If exceptional circumstances impede a registrant's ability to make appropriate arrangements, contact CPSM as soon as possible. If it concerns a health issue, the Physician Health Program can provide support.
Three main areas that need to be considered and addressed, as applicable, when retiring include (click to jump to each section):
Appropriate communication with your patients about your intention to retire is essential to ensure continuity of care, and communication with your colleagues is vital to the smooth functioning of the practice.
CPSM has specific requirements for communication and advance notice, but you should also exercise good professional judgment in the context of your unique professional practice to ensure patient interests are adequately addressed.
Physicians are part of a greater community in the healthcare system and need to let others know when retiring from practice.
CPSM requires that registrants provide notice of intention to retire to (as applicable):
patients or their representatives;
other registrants with whom you may refer or consult with;
any regional health authority in which you have privileges;
any personal care home(s) at which you practice;
Manitoba Health, Seniors and Long-Term Care;
Canadian Medical Protective Agency (CMPA).
CPSM’s Standard of Practice of Regulation and the Standard of Practice - Practice Management specify the information a retiring registrant must provide to CPSM. There are several reasons why CPSM requires this information, one of which is that it allows us to respond to questions former patients may contact CPSM for, including where they can find their records.
Your notice to CPSM must include the following:
How notice is provided to patients will usually be a matter of professional judgment.
When does notice need to be provided?
The purpose of the notice is to make sure those in the system with whom the registrant is connected are made aware and can plan accordingly.
Unless a registrant leaves a medical practice due to illness or other urgent circumstances, at least 90 days' notice must be provided. Otherwise, notice must be provided as soon as possible.
Registrants may contact CPSM with questions about notice requirements at 204-774-7433 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Inquiries may also be directed to the Canadian Medical Protective Association or Doctors Manitoba.
Registrants are expected to take reasonable, commonsense measures to ensure good continuity of care for their patients when retiring. This includes ensuring arrangements for follow-up to referrals for consultations, diagnostic requisitions, and requests for prescription renewals.
The Standard of Practice - Good Medical Care includes the following requirements, which apply in the context of retirement:
Continuity of care entails making sure patients or their representatives have appropriate access to their patient records, including if records need to be transferred to another care provider.
If you are a primary care physician:
When retiring, primary care physicians are expected to make reasonable efforts to arrange suitable alternative care for patients, particularly those who are in the course of treatment at the time of the closure or where there is an established physician-patient relationship. In terms of reasonable efforts, the retiring registrant would be expected to:
We recognize efforts may not always be successful depending on the availability of an alternate care provider.
If you are a specialist:
If you are a specialist, the care of the patient may, by agreement of the specialist and the referring registrant, be returned to the referring registrant. Patients may also be referred to another healthcare provider, in which case the patient should be consulted.
CPSM requires that retiring registrants ensure the secure storage of any patient records as required by the Standard of Practice for Maintenance of Patient Records in All Settings. This applies only to registrants who are trustees with maintenance responsibilities.
CPSM requires retiring registrants to safely dispose of medication, laboratory specimens, equipment, and supplies.