• Welcome to Phoenix Rising!

    Created in 2008, Phoenix Rising is the largest and oldest forum dedicated to furthering the understanding of and finding treatments for complex chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia (FM), long COVID, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and allied diseases.

    To register, simply click the Register button at the top right.

Patients in Ontario/Canada - Can doctors refuse to accept referrals?


Senior Member

I have a question for those patients that have to deal with the Ontario Health System.
I have POTS, and my GP agreed to refer me to a cardiologist that specializes in that condition. He practices in a Hamilton hospital, but I do not live there.

To my surprise, my request was denied by his clinic in Hamilton. They gave some excuse like "I am outside the area they operate". They suggested me to be referred to a doctor within my city.

The problem is that, even though there are other cardiologists/internists in my city, he is one of the very few POTS specialists in the province.

I am not too familiar with the rules for rejecting pacients in Ontario, but can they refuse based on your location? I thought I would have province-wide coverage.
Are there any grounds to raise a complaint with the College of Physicians?


Psalm 46:1-3
Great Lakes
I'm in the US but I had the same thing happen here. The cardiologist said he wasn't treating POTS or OI issues any longer.

I found someone near me by going through the Dysautonomia International website. He is a neurologist. He was not accepting new patients but his office gave me the name of another neurologist in the area that does treat OI issues and I asked my PCP that I had then for a referral to her instead. (I just never had enough energy to follow through with that referral.) :grumpy:

I know that doesn't necessarily answer your question but at least you know it does happen sometimes and perhaps it's a thing with cardiologists not wanting to treat this condition. ???

Hope someone in your health system replies though.
Last edited:


The good news is patients don't die the bad news..
I've had it happen and i assume they are allowed to do this.
That said try calling their office and ask the secretary politely if you can be seen by the doc becasue you heard they are a top specialist in the issue you are having and you really need some help.
Last edited:


Senior Member
Hello @marccjf.....Would it be possible for your doctor to telephone the doctor in Hamilton and ask that an exception be made in your case? You may not get an appointment for mos., but at least you'll have one. I would give that a try.

If it doesn't work, ask your doctor exactly what he thinks you should do.

One other point is this: Perhaps you really don't have to see this particular specialist. In that case, I would try to find one in the Toronto area. I know it's frustrating, but you may have to make a number of phone calls to get to get an appointment with the person you need. (Have a nurse, physician's assistant or the like return your call. It may take longer to get a response, but I would trust the answer more than that given by the receptionist.) I've lived in both Hamilton and Toronto and I'd be very surprised if there wasn't someone as qualified in the Toronto area. Best of luck and may you soon have an appointment. Yours, Lenora.