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Old 23.01.2020, 12:56
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Agreements between doctors to not take on each other's patients

My kids are registered with doctor's practice A, however we have a wish to switch to doctor's practice B due to them being closer located to our new home.

Doctor's practice B tells me they cannot accept my kids as new patients as they have an agreement with doctor's practice A to not take on their patients.

I know this should make me think twice of wanting to even be with doctor's practice B, but is this even legal?
This also undermines the whole idea of an insurance model that allows for free choice of doctors.
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Old 23.01.2020, 13:10
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Re: Agreements between doctors to not take on each other's patients

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My kids are registered with doctor's practice A, however we have a wish to switch to doctor's practice B due to them being closer located to our new home.

Doctor's practice B tells me they cannot accept my kids as new patients as they have an agreement with doctor's practice A to not take on their patients.

I know this should make me think twice of wanting to even be with doctor's practice B, but is this even legal?
This also undermines the whole idea of an insurance model that allows for free choice of doctors.
Any doctor has the right to say he is not taking new patients.
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Old 23.01.2020, 13:27
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Re: Agreements between doctors to not take on each other's patients

Doctors have free choice too.
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Old 23.01.2020, 13:30
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Re: Agreements between doctors to not take on each other's patients

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My kids are registered with doctor's practice A, however we have a wish to switch to doctor's practice B due to them being closer located to our new home.

Doctor's practice B tells me they cannot accept my kids as new patients as they have an agreement with doctor's practice A to not take on their patients.

I know this should make me think twice of wanting to even be with doctor's practice B, but is this even legal?
This also undermines the whole idea of an insurance model that allows for free choice of doctors.
It's hard finding a new doctor when moving, but I've been always answered "sorry, the doctor already has registered too many patients, not possible to book one more".


As omtatsat said, doctors can reject patients, not much to be done.
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Old 23.01.2020, 13:31
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Re: Agreements between doctors to not take on each other's patients

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Doctors have free choice too.
do they ? Its a real question. I was thinking if they have a practical reason they cannot accept, such as having reached the legal limit of patients on their books they could turn you down, but a private arrangement between two doctors not to take each others patients sounds very dodgy to me.

I have free choice of surgeon should I have an operation, I'm not going to be happy at all with my insurance provider if the surgeon I choose says he won't operate on me because it will annoy some doctor he has an informal agreement with.
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Old 23.01.2020, 13:40
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Re: Agreements between doctors to not take on each other's patients

It could be that it is a violation of the antitrust law. See Cartel Act https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classifi...278/index.html
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Old 23.01.2020, 14:03
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Re: Agreements between doctors to not take on each other's patients

It's known as a protected profession for a reason.

When my dr. retired I tried to find a new one and called every office within a 15km radius, all were not taking new patients. So I've been with a Dr in another canton for several years. It seems each canton has its own rules and regs. as I had no problems getting a dr in the other canton where medical things seem more open.

Perhaps change to some random dr. for a year then try to get the preferred one later on if it is a big issue for you.
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Old 23.01.2020, 14:09
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Re: Agreements between doctors to not take on each other's patients

I didn't even think of that when I changed paediatricians.

We moved house, some months later my son was ill so I just made an appointment with the local doctor. She saw him and gave him the necessary treatment.

I told the receptionist on the way out that it would be a good idea to switch permanently seeing as we'd moved so she just said get the other paed to send over the records.

Didn't even ask which one it was. If they've got beef between them, that's their problem, not mine.

OP - I'd push it with them. If their books aren't bursting at the seams with patients there's no real reason not to take you, especially on such spurious grounds.
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Old 23.01.2020, 14:10
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Re: Agreements between doctors to not take on each other's patients

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My kids are registered with doctor's practice A, however we have a wish to switch to doctor's practice B due to them being closer located to our new home.

Doctor's practice B tells me they cannot accept my kids as new patients as they have an agreement with doctor's practice A to not take on their patients.

I know this should make me think twice of wanting to even be with doctor's practice B, but is this even legal?
This also undermines the whole idea of an insurance model that allows for free choice of doctors.
Im a doctor in Switzerland for approximately 10 years now, not taking new patients because a doctor reached his desired limit yes, but having such an agreement, its the first time I hear about that. There is nothing you can do to force doctor B though. Im sorry this happened to you.
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Old 23.01.2020, 14:11
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Re: Agreements between doctors to not take on each other's patients

It's called Vitamin B (Beziehungen - Contacts/Network).

Ask a Swiss friend or neighbour who is a patient at the practice you wish to visit to call, inquire and recommend you.

I had the same problem when I moved to Zug a few years ago. There was not a Doctor available in the vicinity and beyond. My local friend and neighbour called her doctor, who I had called but was told there was no space for me, and got me an appointment and I could register with them.

Last edited by Traubert; 23.01.2020 at 14:30.
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Old 23.01.2020, 14:28
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Re: Agreements between doctors to not take on each other's patients

Had this issue with a pediatrician who was a bit too trigger happy with medications, tried to switch to another local one and was met almost universally with 'Not taking on new patients' - seemed a bit dubious

Lucked out on our eventual Pediatrician who is a bit further away but very happy several years later. It's a strange practice and even our current pediatrician says docs can punitively close ranks when a patient leaves one practice
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Old 23.01.2020, 14:50
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Re: Agreements between doctors to not take on each other's patients

Basically, the first question I got from B when I called them to ask whether they accept new patients was which doctor the kids are currently with.
I told the receptionist I think it's bullsh*t after she told me she wouldn't accept us for that reason. She didn't seem to care.
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Old 23.01.2020, 15:06
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Re: Agreements between doctors to not take on each other's patients

It is very unusual and you're right, I would not bother with Doctor B.

The doctor has free choice as well (usually they only refuse when they already have more than enough patients to take care of). As sSitUS mentioned, this could be illegal so it's pretty dumb of B to give you this reason.

Anyway, don't bother about Dr. B and find Dr. C. For you own benefit.
You could always report Dr. B but it will be "Aussage gegen Aussage" (their word against your's) as it was on the phone. Not really worth the hassle.
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Old 23.01.2020, 15:17
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Re: Agreements between doctors to not take on each other's patients

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It's hard finding a new doctor when moving, but I've been always answered "sorry, the doctor already has registered too many patients, not possible to book one more".
I don't think there is one doctor in Bern that has patients available, I have to go to my previous hausartz in Basel or a walk in clinic...incredibly frustrating.
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Old 23.01.2020, 15:43
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Re: Agreements between doctors to not take on each other's patients

I second what Traubert said. En plus, I never had a medical facility refuse us when I said my doctor suggested them. Referals work. With dentists dtto.
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Old 23.01.2020, 17:41
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Re: Agreements between doctors to not take on each other's patients

Now you folks are discussing a different thing. Doctor's not taking on new patients is as normal for them as for book-keepers, cleaning ladies or what ever; When one has enough clients to keep one totally busy it is a logic and fair thing to do.

OP's Dr. A and B have a deal not to let clients change from one to the other. And that is not normal. The best way to get both A and B out of business is to turn to Dr. C and even name and shame, imo.
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Old 23.01.2020, 19:32
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Re: Agreements between doctors to not take on each other's patients

I knew a GP quite well who told me that he has occasional collegial contact with the others in the area and they all said that they dread the patient who migrates to their practice from any of the others as then they not only have to treat (which they do want to do), but all too often also to listen to complaints about their colleagues. And that patients who have left Dr A because of something they didn't get there would generally tend to be all the more insistent that Dr B now deliver that service, immediately. And all the while they know that some other former patient of mine is sitting over there, complaining about me.

I agree with Curley: if at all possible, move on and look for Dr C. Possibly with a friend's recommendation so as to get your foot in the door, as others have suggested.
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