Frequently Asked Questions from Physicians
Healthy physicians contribute to better patient outcomes. Many physicians may experience health issues that impact their medical practice at some point in their careers.
While the College does not provide direct treatment, we do connect physicians to available supports and resources including the following frequently asked questions.
I am a licensed physician, what is the process of reporting a health concern I have of a colleague?
When is participation in the College’s Physician Health Program mandatory?
Physicians have a mandatory duty to report to the College any health condition that impacts patient safety. Health conditions include mental health and addictions concerns.
The College does not provide treatment but connects physicians to supports and resources.
I am an active participant in the College’s Physician Health program. Am I required to disclose this on my annual renewal application every year?
Yes. All physicians, regardless of their participation in the program, are obliged to disclose health conditions that may impact patient safety.
When will a disclosure of a personal health condition affect my licensure?
When patient safety is at risk.
When a health condition, including those related to mental health and addiction is reported to the College an assessment can be undertaken to determine if the physician:
- can remain in practice while seeking treatment,
- is required to undergo regular health monitoring of their condition;
- is required to reduce the scope of their practice; or
- is required to stop practicing to seek treatment.
Can I be disciplined for having a health condition that may affect my ability to practice safely?
No, but you must adhere to the College’s Professional Standards and Guidelines Regarding Duty to Report Health Professionals.
If a physician health concern is identified during the investigation of a complaint, the complaint process is put on hold and the matter is then directed to the College’s Physician Health Program.
Will participation in the College’s Physician Health Program be included in a Certificate of Professional Conduct (CPC)?
Yes. The purpose of the Certificate of Professional Conduct is to inform the regulatory work of other Colleges where you are licensed. If your health condition gives rise to a need for regulatory oversight or intervention, it is the duty of the College to provide this information.
I am a postgraduate trainee. To whom do I report my health condition(s)?
As a postgraduate trainee you are to report your health condition to the Office of Resident Affairs.
Will any of my Physician Health conditions or monitoring be on the public College’s website?
No. The College treats your health information with the utmost confidentiality. In some cases, the College’s Physician Search website information may indicate a temporary absence in the licensing history on a physician’s profile.
Who at the College will have access to my Personal Health information?
Only staff supporting the monitoring of a physician health condition may access a physician’s health information provided to the College.
If I am out of practice for an extended period of time due to my health condition, what is required when I return?
Depending on the nature of your health condition, the College may require an attestation of your fitness to practise from your health care provider(s).
Physicians must maintain currency of practice as provide for in the College’s Policy Regarding Currency of Practice Experience.
If your currency of practice has lapsed due to an extended absence from practice, you will be required to undergo a competency assessment as directed by the College’s Guideline for the Conduct of Return to Practice Assessments.
Is there a dedicated point of contact at the College for Physician Health matters?
Yes. The College has a dedicated Physician Support Officer to assist physicians experiencing health concerns.