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Understanding the complaints process
If you have a problem
If you are concerned about the conduct of a health care professional the first thing you should consider doing is talking the problem over with him or her; difficulties often result from misunderstanding or poor communications. If you are still not satisfied, and the professional works for an agency such as a hospital, you may wish to speak to the person in charge at the agency. If there is no agency involved, or if it cannot help with your problem, you can contact the appropriate regulatory body. This organization can give you information on the standards you can expect in the delivery of care and what can be done if they are not met.
What the regulatory organization can do
The regulatory organization can take action after it receives a complaint about one of its members. This may involve a thorough investigation and, if warranted, a formal inquiry. If the professional is found to have behaved improperly, the organization may issue a reprimand, require a supervised program of help, or suspend or terminate his or her authority to practice. Some organizations also levy a fine.
What the regulatory organization cannot do
They do not have the authority to order compensation for any harm that may have been done. They cannot direct how an agency supervises or disciplines a professional employed by it.
Making a complaint
If you want to make a formal complaint, talk to the people at the appropriate regulatory organizations. They can advise you. You may be asked to put your complaints in writing and give the name of the professional, where he or she works, details of the specific actions being complained about, and provide any available support documents. You should also identify yourself so that the matter can be thoroughly investigated. If you are not satisfied with the actions taken by the regulatory organization, you may be able to appeal them through various channels including the Health Professions Review Board, the Ombudsperson, and the Supreme Court of British Columbia.