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New Process Offers Effective Resolution

Close-up of stethoscope in shirt pocket of someone's scrubs

ADR to be considered for low-risk complaints that don’t require formal investigation

The College has put in place a process that will address certain complaints without the need for a formal investigation.

The College receives approximately 2,700 public complaints per year of varying complexity. As volumes have increased, timelines have lengthened, resulting in dissatisfaction for both complainants and physicians. Adopting an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process for certain complaints offers an opportunity to streamline the system and facilitate a more responsive resolution.

When the College receives a complaint, we always review it carefully before deciding how to proceed. If the matter is a lower-risk concern, it may be most suitable for ADR.

If the complaint is suitable for ADR, a CPSO mediator will ask the physician and the complainant if they agree to the ADR process. If both agree, and the CPSO Registrar approves the use of ADR, the mediator will work with the doctor and the complainant to resolve the complaint to their mutual satisfaction.

The College mediator will work with the doctor and the complainant to try to resolve the complaint to their mutual satisfaction

We are aiming to resolve a significant number of these complaints within 60 days.

This will enable the College’s investigative resources to be directed towards more serious matters.

Under legislation, the College must resolve the complaint with ADR within 120 days of receiving it. The Registrar will promptly review any resolution that is reached, and if approved, will close the complaint.

As prescribed in the regulations, if the physician and the complainant are unable to reach a resolution, the CPSO will investigate the complaint and submit it to the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee for a decision. This is also the process if a resolution can not be reached within 120 days.

“By focusing on increased resolution, where possible and appropriate, we should be able to also offer better service, and increase both complainant and physician satisfaction,” said Dr. Nancy Whitmore, College Registrar/CEO. She added that she looked forward to providing regular updates on the process.

What types of complaints can we resolve with ADR?
  • Some communication concerns
  • Consent issues
  • Access to or transfer of a patient’s medical records
  • Practice management issues such as wait times
  • Block fee concerns, charging for missed or cancelled appointments or for completion of medical notes and forms
  • Some clinical issues, such as concerns about assessment, diagnosis, treatment and/or follow-up