Complaints against Doctors (5:XI)
|This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on July 31, 2020.|
If you wish to file a complaint against your doctor, there are four options:
- Talk to your doctor
- File a complaint with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (this is the regulating body for doctors in BC)
- Speak to a lawyer or the police for advice if you believe your doctor has violated a criminal law
- Speak to a lawyer for advice about suing the doctor (i.e., medical malpractice)
NOTE: Even if you file a complaint with the College, you are still able to take steps 3, 4, or both.
There is no specific time frame in which to file a complaint; however, the sooner it is filed, the easier it will be to investigate.
To file a complaint, there are three steps:
- Complete and submit a Complaint Form (found on the College’s website).
- Make the complaint in writing; include your name, address, telephone number, the name and address of the doctor, the facts of the incident, and permission to send a copy of the complaint to your doctor.
- Send the written complaint to:
Complaints Department - College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC
Once the College reviews the written complaint, it will begin an investigation. This includes obtaining further relevant information and, potentially, relevant medical records. The physician will respond to the complaint. The College’s Inquiry Committee (made up of senior doctors and members of the public) will conduct a review of your complaint. If the College finds the complaint is valid, the physician may be expected to change aspects of his or her practice, or undertake further education. The College may also issue remedial advice or reprimand the physician if there is a significant departure from the CMA Code of Ethics. In extreme cases, the College may prohibit a physician from practising medicine.
Please note that there is a special procedure for sexual misconduct complaints. You can either phone the College immediately at 604-733-7758 or submit a letter outlining the incident.
For further information:
Canadian Bar Association https://www.cbabc.org/For-the-Public/Dial-A-Law/Scripts/Health-Law/423
College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia https://www.cpsbc.ca/for-public/file-complaint
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