Employment change and patient treatment

‘I’m changing employment and my patient wants to continue to be treated by me - where do I stand?’

Jackie Lidgard is a CSP professional adviser
Jackie Lidgard is a CSP professional adviser

Changing physiotherapy roles and moving to a different employer is an exciting time. However, it can be unsettling for patients you have built trusting relationships with. Often patients ask where you are moving to and may request to continue treatment in your new service. In these circumstances, it can be difficult to know how much information you can provide, and where you stand if your patient wishes to remain under your care. 

Firstly, check you have no contractual restrictions.

Some employers have conflict of interest stipulations in their contracts. 

They may require you to inform them if you start a business or become self-employed or have limitations around patients you can see, and timescales that these limitations apply. You may wish to discuss this with your employer to ensure you meet the obligations of your current contract.

If you plan to work concurrently in the NHS and private practice, we recommend that you check your contract to see whether there are any clauses around this and seek clarity on local policies. 

If you work for an NHS trust and are moving to private practice, in the course of your NHS duties and responsibilities you should not initiate discussions about providing private services for NHS patients. If you are approached by a patient and asked about the provision of additional paid-for services, you should provide only standard advice that has been agreed with your employer.

For example, you may consider having a list of local independent providers, of which you are one of several suggestions.  If you are moving between private employers, or moving to self-employed work, you should check with your current employer what their policy is on providing information on alternative providers. 

You must not take any contact information or patient details from any previous services in your future employment, as this would be a breach of the Data Protection Act

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