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What to do if you’re asked to leave your practice immediately

27 May 2019 | Sonya Black, LLB (Hons), B.Com, Special Counsel – Employment Law, Avant Law, QLD

It can be quite shocking for a doctor to be dismissed without warning, and sometimes even without reason, so it helps to know in advance, what to do and when.

If you are asked to leave, then do so without protest. This will give you the best chance of maintaining your emotional, financial and professional well-being.

Some doctors feel they should stay because they have a notice period stipulated under their contract or feel they have been treated unfairly. Even if you have, this will not help and may hinder the ongoing co-operation of the practice towards you. It’s better to leave and do it as quickly as possible. You can attend to any outstanding patient matters afterwards by email or phone.

Follow our checklist for what you should and shouldn’t do:

1. Stay calm

Try to be as calm as possible and gather your personal belongings. If you are distressed or angry, simply leave – do not drive yourself home, order a taxi instead.

2. Contact us

For advice and support, contact us at: nca@avant.org.au or call 1800 128 268. Our advisors will be able to determine your rights and the best course of action in your circumstance.

3. Write to the practice about the clinical handover of your patients

For example, write a letter as follows:

As you directed me to leave the practice with immediate effect, I am unable to attend to patient care matters including (without limitation), the clinical handover of my patients, reviewing patient results and letters, patient follow up or other aspects of clinical review. 

The continuity of care for my patients is now the responsibility of the practice and I expect the practice will ensure that continuity of care for these patients. This includes recalls management; referral tracking to private specialists and public hospital system and test tracking.

Please deactivate my computer password.

4. Do not ask for anything in writing

Any written correspondence could allude to the reasons for your immediate dismissal and is therefore of no use to you.

5. Collect your personal belongings

If you did not have a chance to gather your personal belongings when you left the practice, contact the practice manager by email or phone to arrange a time to collect any personal belongings you have left behind. You may choose to send someone to do this on your behalf, depending on how you are feeling at the time or the practice may arrange to deliver your items to you.

6. Protect your professional reputation

Contact the practice manager and ask to have an ‘out of office’ on your email and a statement that personal emails should be sent to you at your email address listed. The manager may or may not agree with this and the practice may have its own policy as to how email accounts are handled when staff leave but it is worth a try. For more information, download our factsheet about leaving a practice.

7. Review your payment advice

Check that you have been paid correctly and if not, please advise us.

8. Contact Medicare

You should contact Medicare and ask for your provider number for the practice to be cancelled. This is a good time to get an update on the Medicare billings for patients treated under your provider number so you can reference it in case there is a future dispute about amounts owing to you from the practice.

More information

If you require expert advice, email us at: nca@avant.org.au or call 1800 128 268 for expert advice, 24/7 in emergencies. 

In addition to our in-house medical advisors, our members also have access to a range of health and wellbeing resources and a confidential counselling service through our Personal Support Program on 1300 360 364.

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