Download a printable checklist for taking a leave of absence
Download the Leave of Absence Reporting Form
Taking a leave of absence means being unavailable to see patients. Consequently, unless there are exceptional circumstances underlying the need for the leave of absence (e.g., medical issue), you are expected to make reasonable plans and arrangements to ensure good continuity of care for your patients.
In general, you should always have a contingency plan for unexpected absences from your practice.
If exceptional circumstances impede your ability to make appropriate arrangements, contact CPSM if possible. If it is a health issue, the Physician Health Program can provide support.
Three main areas need to be considered and addressed, as applicable, when taking a leave of absence. They are (click to jump to each section):
It is essential for you to appropriately communicate with patients and colleagues about a leave of absence to ensure continuity of care for patients and 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.
Who needs to be notified?
CPSM requires that registrants provide notice of their intention to take a leave of absence to (as applicable):
The notice 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 you are 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 in the circumstances.
Returning from a leave of absence
Registrants are required to notify CPSM in advance as to when they are returning from a leave of absence. Notice should be given as early as possible.
Registrants may contact CPSM with questions about notice requirements at email@example.com. Inquiries may also be directed to the Canadian Medical Protective Association or Doctors Manitoba.
You are expected to take reasonable, commonsense measures to ensure good continuity of care for patients when taking a leave of absence. This includes ensuring arrangements for follow-up to referrals for consultations, diagnostic requisitions, and requests for prescription renewals.
The Standard of Practice for Good Medical Care includes the following requirements, which apply in the context of a leave of absence:
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
Primary care physicians are expected to make reasonable attempts to arrange suitable alternative care of patients, particularly those who are in the course of treatment at the time of the closure. You must document those efforts. It is recognized efforts will not always be successful depending on the availability of an alternate care provider.
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. Depending on the length and reason for the leave, patients may be referred to another healthcare provider.
CPSM requires that registrants taking a leave of absence must: