So your Doctor is retiring? What are you going to do……
Doctors retire, even during pandemics. And patients have to be aware of a few things they will need to take care of for themselves.
Hopefully your doctor has managed to find a new GP to take over the practice, ‘transitioned’ your files to a new clinic, or you have found one on your own (a modern miracle.) HealthLinkBC is the Doctors of BC’s recommended agency for locating a doctor in your area.
Adult patient files are maintained for a minimum of 16 years after the last entry in BC. When your doctor lets you know they are planning to retire, ask about your files.
If a doctor is taking over the practice and your file, you are in luck. If not, you can take the files yourself or leave them with your retiring GP for storage until you have a new doctor who can then request those files. Some offices still maintain paper files, some are strictly electronic and others are a combination.
Ask your retiring GP if they are having any stored paper files scanned for digital records. BC Doctors endorse Medrecords.ca which stores medical records for physicians for free and charges patients from $37.50 to a maximum of $85.95 to transfer files to their new doctor. Patients can get their own copy for an additional fee.
Younger GPs (the new guy) are used to Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and may not be thrilled with a thick paper file. Savvy retiring GPs are advised in the Doctor’s of BC Retirement Guide to establish EMR in their practice as a selling feature in a buyer’s market.
Last and certainly not the least – your prescriptions. Once your doctor retires, their licence to practise and write prescriptions retires with them. If you have a year’s renewals, your local pharmacy will only refill those prescriptions while your doctor is still listed as licensed. Once they are no longer listed you can only get an emergency refill (usually 30 days) and you will need to get new ‘scripts.
Mention prescription renewals to your doctor when they tell you they are retiring. The BC Doctors Retirement Guide doesn’t address it and the BC Pharmacy Association only suggests providing emergency supplies based on their policy and the pharmacist’s judgement. You can also save yourself a few trips to the pharmacy and additional dispensing fees.
Talk to you GP about having their replacement write your annual prescription and avoid having to book an appointment after your first 90-day supply runs out. Most new GPs have worked as locums in their practices before taking them over and an appointment should not be a problem.
If you don’t have a new doctor, head to a walk-in clinic with your prescriptions and get a renewal.
Meanwhile, stay healthy, and ahead of the curve.