You are not alone. Most physicians face at least one College complaint during their career.
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- Assess the specifics of the complaint, and determine who complained about what.
- Determine what the College is asking you to do and if you have been given specific deadlines to meet.
- Review the patient’s medical record when the matter is about a clinical event. However, if the record belongs to a hospital or other institution (e.g. clinic owner), contact the CMPA before accessing it.
- Never alter a patient's medical record after a complaint.
- Read the CMPA’s article What to do if you’re notified of a College complaint.
- Contact the CMPA and schedule time to speak to a physician advisor for advice and assistance on how to formulate an effective response.
- With the CMPA’s assistance, respond in writing to the College in a professional and respectful manner, and objectively address the issues. Be succinct and direct, avoiding inflammatory language or accusations.
Breathe. Most complaints can be resolved by engaging collaboratively with the hospital and health authority.
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- Determine the specifics of the complaint. Your hospital should formally notify you of the complaint, if you will be asked to participate in an upcoming meeting or review.
- Never alter a patient's medical record after a complaint or legal action is initiated.
- Consider delivering an apology which expresses your sympathy and regret for what has happened. Before you apologize and accept responsibility for a mistake, you may wish to contact the CMPA.
- If applicable, participate in the discussion with the patient (or family) to give the complainants a factual understanding of what happened, an apology when appropriate, and what improvements are being made at the hospital.
- If the hospital conducts a quality improvement (QI) review, participate and share what you know about the facts of the case. Avoid blaming others.
- If the hospital conducts an accountability review, you are generally obligated to take part in a review of your professional work when requested. You may wish to contact the CMPA to discuss your participation.