A Cornwall Ontario doctor may be facing charges from two patients over his refusal to deal with the patient’s request to access medical Marijuana.
CFN has learned that there were two patients in particular with both feeling bullied and one being allegedly “fired” by the doctor after the doctor was said to refuse to release the patient’s file to another medical facility so a prescription could be issued.
One, a senior, stated that they felt intimidated and were worried that they’d lose their doctor. Having to travel for assistance, as they are a late stage cancer patient seeking relief from pain and side effects of treatment, put extra stress and wear on the patient as well.
There’s a waiting list for most doctors in Cornwall with many still refusing to issue prescriptions locally patients are having to turn to services that bring a person in need of the relief with health professionals willing to assist them.
It is now legal to be prescribed medical Marijuana in Canada, and after the 24th, patients now can actually grow their own medicinal marijuana or designate someone to grow for them, or purchase from a licensed producer such as Tweed in Smiths Falls Ontario.
Tracey Sobers of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario stated:
With regard to policies that concern the details of your story, I am providing you with links to the following College policies:
- Medical Marijuana for Medical Purposes – which sets out expectations for physicians relating to the prescribing of marijuana for medical purposes;
- Professional Obligations and Human Rights – which articulates physicians’ professional and legal obligations to provide health services without discrimination. This includes a duty to accommodate individuals who may face barriers to accessing care. The policy also sets out the College’s expectations for physicians who limit the health services they provide due to clinical competence or because of their personal values and beliefs; and
- Ending the Physician-Patient Relationship clarifies the expectations of physicians when ending the physician-patient relationship, and outlines the actions to be followed in doing so.
When reviewing a complaint, the Inquiries, Investigations and Reports Committee will consider the particular circumstances of the case along with the relevant policies when formulating a decision.
While I am unable to indicate the a specific outcome for a particular type of complaint, there are several possible outcomes as a result of an investigation into a complaint against a physician.
The information gathered during the investigation is reviewed by the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee which will decide to do one of the following:
- take no action, if the doctor’s conduct or the care provided was appropriate;
- issue advice or a recommendation, if the Committee believes the doctor would benefit from some guidance to improve his or her conduct or future practice;
- request that the doctor participate in self-study, with assistance available from the College in developing an educational plan with follow up from the College to ensure the physician has addressed the needs identified;
- require the doctor to appear before a panel of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee to be cautioned regarding specific aspects of his or her practice, professionalism or conduct A summary of the decision to caution is posted to the doctor’s profile on the public register. (This information is public for investigations initiated on or after January 1, 2015);
- request or accept the doctor’s undertaking to improve his or her practice or to restrict his or her practice, which may include education, supervision, and/or monitoring, and may require further evaluation upon completion. The College monitors compliance and the terms of the undertaking are posted to the doctor’s profile on the public register;
- direct the doctor to complete a specified continuing education remediation program in order to improve skills or change practice. The College monitors compliance and a summary of the decision is posted to the doctor’s profile on the public register. (This information is public for investigations initiated on or after January 1, 2015);
- request or accept an undertaking from the doctor to resign and to never apply for reinstatement, which is posted to the doctor’s profile on the public register;
- refer the doctor to a panel of the Committee if there are concerns about the doctor’s health that may be affecting her or his ability to practise;
- refer the concerns about the doctor to the Discipline Committee; or
- decide not to investigate because the complaint is frivolous, vexatious, made in bad faith or is an abuse of process.
Patient Access to Records
Patients have a right of access to their personal health information that is in the custody or under the control of a HIC, including any information that has been stamped or indicated as confidential, unless an exception applies. 28 Physicians should consult section 52 of PHIPA for a comprehensive list of such exceptions and should seek the guidance of the CMPA or their legal counsel if unsure about how to respond to a request for access.
Physicians cannot refuse to grant a patient access to their records for the purpose of avoiding a legal proceeding.
If a physician has refused a patient access to his or her record, the patient is entitled to make a complaint to the IPC under subsection 54(8) of PHIPA.
Patient Requests Transfer
If a patient requests that a physician transfer his or her records, the transfer should take place in a timely fashion in order to facilitate continuity of care.
In some circumstances it will be more efficient for the transferring physician to prepare a summary of the records rather than to provide a copy of the entire record. This is acceptable to the College as long as it is acceptable to the receiving physician and the patient. The physician is still obligated to retain the original record, in its entirety, for the time period required by the Regulation.
With changes to the medical landscape as Medical Marijuana and Recreational Marijuana uses and laws are evolving it should be interesting to see how medical professionals adapt.
What do you think dear CFN viewers? You can post your comments below.