Choosing your Paediatrician – Parental Rights
Choosing your Paediatrician – Parental Rights as a topic is an important one but it should not be a stressful one and we hope this short article will provide you with some helpful insight, both about your rights as parents and in how to choose a paediatrician in the Cayman Islands.
In many places around the world, access to a paediatrician is through referral by a GP, who provides the first line of care. In Cayman, it is different. The vast majority of paediatric care here is provided by paediatricians, most of whom are based outide of hospitals and who provide all routine and some complex care needs. So, it is normal here for the adult family members to have a GP and the children to have a paediatrician.
This is the simple bit. You are fully in control. However, let’s consider the scenarios where a parent finds themselves choosing a paediatrician and examine some of the issues at those stages. It’s a scenario you find yourself facing generally in 4 situations:
- You’ve just move to the Cayman Islands and so do not have one
- You’re pregnant and choosing one to attend birth and provide newborn care
- You have a paediatrician but they are off-island, on vacation or unwell
- You have a paediatrician and you would like to change, for whatever reason (and it doesn’t matter!)
In all of these scenarios, you have complete choice over seeing whomever you wish. As long as the practice accepts your insurance, then there is no real restriction on going to any practice, provided they have the capacity and are open for new patients. Essentially, when choosing your paediatrician – parental rights are explicitly clear by law – it’s your choice and it should be respected.
When pregnant, you may have special considerations or needs, such as wanting a paediatrician with a formal neonatal (newborn) training in case there is a complication. If you already have a paediatrician, it’s perfectly fine to do this and you just need need to let that paediatrician know if you intend to return to your established one afterwards. Good paediatricians will be perfectly happy with this and ensure your normal paediatrician gets a good handover or care afterwards.
Occasionally, you may find an OBGYN steers you towards a paediatrician, which can happen most often if they have one in their practice. However, you still absolutely have every right to choose the one you really want and it is a good idea to meet others to be sure. An OBGYN shouldn’t object to your choice of paediatrician and once they know who you have chosen, they should respect that choice. We have many excellent obstetricians in the Cayman Islands, and whether they are openly happy to accommodate a parents wishes is an obvious a useful gauge or factor in whether they are the right one for your pregnancy too.
VACATION & SICKNESS COVER
In the Cayman Islands, the paediatricians all know each other fairly well. They get together at professional meetings and societies, they cover for each other and help each other. You can feel completely confident in asking to see another paediatrician if yours is unavailable for some reason and good paediatricians will ensure a good handover back so your normal one knows what’s happened in their absence.
At Integra, because we have 4 paediatricians and newborn specialists, there is always someone available, and we run an out-of-hours single number system to ensure you always reach someone – (345) 326 4370 – and a during office hours there are always paediatricians available on our main number (345) 745 7450. We will always respect your normal paediatrician if we are stepping in.
TIME FOR A CHANGE
For many, this is the more stressful situation, because underpinning it is a reason. There can be many reasons why people want to change, including:
- For geographical reasons
- They want a practice with better cover, out-of-hours or vacations
- They want to attend the same practice as parents
- For a specific aspect of healthcare where someone specialises
- Unhappy with the service or care from an existing practice
- Child doesn’t seem happy where they are (accepting no child likes injections etc!)
The reason doesn’t matter and you have absolute choice. You do not even have to tell your existing practice why, unless you want to. If you do find yourself wanting to change and do not want to go through even the embarrassment of explaining this, you may simply register with another practice and ask them to acquire the medical notes from your previous one. As paediatricians, we have ethical obligations in ensuring that we facilitate that process so your child is never put at risk. This is very rarely an issue and we are all used to handling this. What might feel stressful to you, is normal to us, so just ask.
Choosing your Paediatrician – Other Considerations
There are many reasons for choosing one paediatrician over another and because it is often a long relationship, you want to choose carefully and well, ensuring a good match to yours and your child’s needs.
We have a whole guide on the sorts of considerations you may have or want to consider.