COMPLAINTS ABOUT STANDARD OF PRACTICE
When a patient or other person has questions about a podiatrist’s competence or conduct, there must be an avenue to bring such concerns to the attention of the College and for addressing them. As required under the Health Professions Act (HPA), the College has a complaint process in place and responds to all complaints.
The aim of the complaint process is to serve and protect the public interest in a competent and ethical standard of care by preventing a recurrence of suspected and proven problems. Where there is a need to intervene, the College if possible will resolve a concern through remedial measures. Where it is deemed necessary in order to protect the public, disciplinary sanctions will be involved.
In order to reach a finding that a practitioner has failed to meet the required standard of conduct or competence, there must be clear and cogent evidence of a wrong, which involves some degree of intent or culpable carelessness on the part of the registrant. A mere mistake does not meet this test.
Where a complaint after a fair and proper investigation process leads to a finding that a registrant has failed to meet the required standard of practice, the College will intervene to ensure that measures are taken that are designed to prevent a recurrence and thereby protect the public. Every complaint is different although some appear similar on their face; what sanctions are appropriate in any particular case depends on a number of factors which are unique to every individual case.
Possible measures include a reprimand, to suspension, cancellation or limitations or conditions on a registrant’s practice, and fines.
Nature and Limits of the College’s Legal Authority
The College’s legal authority or mandate under the HPA is regulatory in nature, over practitioners’ standard of conduct and competence. Our role is to set standards and enforce them. ‘Conduct’ relates to the standard of ethical behaviour, and ‘competence’ relates to the standard of care, skill and knowledge.
Under the HPA, the CPS-BC has legal authority to, and must, investigate complaints about registrants’ professional competence or ethics, and take measures to prevent any ongoing risk to the public.
Limits of the College’s authority
The College’s role, to regulate the standard of practice in the public interest, is different in nature from that of the Courts.
The College’s legal authority does not extend to addressing the personal or contractual interests of a registrant’s patient, employee or business associate; the College cannot advocate for, represent or compensate an individual.
Thus the CPS-BC may not, for example:
– Resolve a fee or bill dispute with a patient or supplier
– Resolve an employment or business dispute
– Pay, or order a registrant to give, a refund or reduction of a bill to a patient or supplier
– Pay, or order that a registrant pay, damages to a patient for injury or suffering
– Give legal advice to or assist a patient, employee or associate in a lawsuit against a registrant
– Order a podiatrist to provide a treatment to a patient
– Provide medical advice or treatment
– Refer patients to a specific registrant
Contact the College
Anyone may contact the College for general information about the standards of practice and the complaint process at anytime.
The College will do its best to provide helpful information to callers, but cannot make summary judgments about whether a podiatrist has failed to meet standards or engaged in misconduct. There must be a proper and fair investigation before any conclusions are reached.
See more about the College’s complaint process.