Standards for general practices

General practice module

Criterion GP2.4 – Transfer of care and the patient–practitioner relationship

        1. Criterion GP2.4 – Transfer of care and the patient–practitioner relationship

Indicator


GP2.4 A Our practice team transfers care to another practitioner (in our practice or in another practice) when a patient requests the transfer.

GP2.4 B Our practice facilitates the transfer of care of a patient when the practitioner requests transfer of care.

Why this is important

Whether the patient chooses to see another practitioner at your practice or at another practice, you need to have a system that ensures the patient receives continuous and coordinated primary care.

Meeting this Criterion

Patient requests for transfer of care

When a patient requests to be transferred to the care of a practitioner in another practice, your practice must comply with state or territory laws governing the transfer of patient health information. Refer to the RACGP’s Managing external requests for patient information for further advice regarding the transfer of information.

Practitioner requests for transfer of care

Other than in emergencies, practitioners have the right to discontinue treatment of a patient. Situations in which this could occur include when the practitioner thinks they can no longer give the patient optimal care, or when the practitioner no longer considers it appropriate to treat the patient (eg when a patient has behaved in a threatening or violent manner, or where there has been a significant breakdown in the patient–practitioner relationship).

When the practitioner requests transfer of care, the practice must facilitate the transfer of the patient to another practitioner or practice. This involves:

  • informing the patient (at a consultation, or by phone or letter) as to the reason for the decision to transfer care
  • taking reasonable steps to ensure the person to whom you delegate, refer or hand over has the qualifications, experience, knowledge and skills to provide the care required
  • facilitating arrangements for the continuing medical care of the patient, including the transfer or appropriate management of all patient records.15

You could have a documented process for discontinuing a patient’s care, which includes what to do in the event the patient makes subsequent contact with the practice (eg the practice may wish to consult with its medical defence organisation, where necessary).

It is good practice to keep a copy of information sent to the new practice in case there are any later issues.

Your practice still has a professional and ethical obligation to provide emergency care to patients whose care has been transferred. If your practice operates in a rural or remote area, consider the patient’s ability to access alternative care.

Meeting each Indicator

GP2.4 A A Our practice team transfers care to another practitioner (in our practice or in another practice) when a patient requests the transfer.

You must:

  • document in the patient’s health record details of the patient’s decision to cease receiving care, and the action taken
  • transfer the patient’s health information to another practitioner.

You could:

  • maintain a policy about ceasing a patient’s care
  • provide referrals to other healthcare providers.

GP2.4 B Our practice facilitates the transfer of care of a patient when the practitioner requests transfer of care.

You must:

  • document in the patient’s health record details of the practitioner’s decision to cease providing care, and the action taken
  • transfer the patient’s health information to another practitioner or practice in response to requests for a transfer of care.

You could:

  • maintain a policy about transferring a patient’s care
  • provide referrals to other healthcare providers.

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