Closing Your Practice

When you decide to retire, change practice locations, or close your practice, ensuring as smooth a transition as possible is important for your patients' continued care and your mental well-being. There are some critical steps to take. 

Notifying patients
Notifying others
Organizing medical records 
  • Notify the College of the location and accessibility options for all medical records.
  • Patients should also be notified of the location of their medical records and how they can be accessed (see above).
  • Ownership of medical records does not end when leaving a practice and the obligations of security, confidentiality, accessibility, and retention still apply; however, ownership can be delegated through a mutual written, signed agreement.
  • A plan should be made for the maintenance and retention of medical records in the event of an unanticipated departure. Ensure medical record storage and retention is included in your estate planning.
  • Medical records must be stored in a safe, secure place for at least 16 years from the date of the last entry. Records for minors must be kept for at least 16 years from the age of majority (19 years of age).
  • After the retention period has ended, records should be confidentially destroyed. 
  • The transfer of medical records can be made to:
    • Another physician with consent of the patient.
    • A storage facility remaining in custody of original physician.  
  • MedRecords offers digitization, storage, and legal destruction of medical records. 
  • For more details on medical record management, see the CPSBC Medical Records Management Practice Standard. 
Planning for retirement

Other helpful resources

BC Resources

For professional advice on retirement and estate planning, contact MD Financial Management.

Divisions of Family Practice Resources