Ontario docs are leaving – patients have trouble finding good doctors

{January 15, 2013}   Public push for cautions to be published

Public push for cautions to be published

Written by JERED STUFFCO on January 14, 2013 for The Medical Post
TORONTO | Cautions against doctors could become public knowledge as public pressure mounts on regulatory bodies to publish warnings and other transgressions against health workers.

“If colleges wanted to make cautions public they can do so without a regulatory change.”

While the colleges publish results of their disciplinary cases, there has been much debate recently about patients being left out of the loop on warnings.
The Toronto Star found that 2,000 warnings were kept secret from 2007 to 2011, and some of those warnings dealt with serious problems.
After a recent meeting with the Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges, a spokesperson for health minister Deb Matthews told the Star “if colleges wanted to make cautions public they can do so without a regulatory change.”
Still, colleges would not have to wait for changes to the provincial Regulated Health Professionals Act, since a new bylaw could be passed by colleges—one that needs to be “carefully considered.”
In an email to the Medical Post, the College of Ontario Physicians and Surgeons is currently weighing changes through a “transparency program” this year.
Spokesperson Kathryn Clarke said opening up the process “will be considered by council at regular intervals throughout the year.”
But she added that transparency must be balanced, especially when there is no finding of wrongdoing.
“The courts have repeatedly said that the colleges’ Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC) is not permitted to make a finding of wrongdoing.”
When a physician in Ontario comes before the Discipline Committee, it is important to realize that it is only  a Tribunal, not a Court. Unlike a Court, members of a Tribunal can be and are hired and fired by the Government or the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario at will.  Tribunal members lack the security of tenure that secures the independence of Judges. For many Discipline Committee members, the job is a “retirement fund” and it is in the Tribunal members’ interest to please their Masters by following the party line, whatever it may be for that particular week.  
Kathryn Clarke  –  CPSO Spokeswoman
 (416) 967-2600  ext. 378

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