Removing functionality from the online physician directory—“accepting new patients”

As of March 1, 2018, the automated feature on the College’s physician directory, which allows family physicians to identify themselves as accepting new patients, will be discontinued. Since the time the online feature was first enabled, family physicians have been responsible for keeping information about their practice capacity up-to-date. In more recent years, since many family physicians have reached capacity to take on new patients, and many physicians work in multiple practice locations, reports generated from the “accepting new patients” feature were frequently inaccurate, causing undue frustration for patients seeking a family physician.

The physician directory will continue to assist patients and others who wish to confirm whether a physician is currently registered and licensed with the College, and provide information as required by the Health Professions Act, including a business address and phone number. The physician directory also provides information such as registrants’ place of graduation, credentials, and scope of practice.

Once the feature is disabled, patients who phone the College seeking a family physician will be referred to HealthLink BC for a listing of walk-in clinics, and to applicable Divisions of Family Practice chapters with patient attachment mechanisms in place. Physicians, especially those who are planning to retire in the near future, are being asked to do the same, rather than directing their patients to the College.

Physicians working in walk-in clinics are reminded that they are responsible for offering any patient who does not have a dedicated family physician longitudinal medical care, including the provision of appropriate periodic health examinations and follow-up care. See Walk-in, Urgent Care and Multi-physician Clinics.