Dialogue Volume 14 Issue 3 2018 - Page 9

FEATURE Managing Low Risk Complaints How the College is making its complaints process more efficient “I have had several complaints,” wrote one Ontario doctor recently on a social media forum, “and I felt that the College was quite reasonable and fair. But they took ages [to provide a decision],” he wrote. We agree. It does take too long for a complaint to wind its way through our process. And the College’s new Reg- istrar/CEO, says her first priority is to find efficiencies in the way that we perform this core function. “A slow complaints process does not serve the interest of the public or physicians,” said Dr. Nancy Whitmore. “In too many cases, the process is drawn-out, which leads to additional stress and uncertainty for patients. And of course, for physicians, it is a stressful process that carries with it tremendous uncertainty for their careers and their lives,” she said. The College receives approximately 2700 public com- plaints per year of varying complexity. As volumes have increased, timelines have also increased, resulting in dis- satisfaction for both complainants and physicians. In 2017, the median length to provide a decision in a public complaint was 202 days. And that, says Dr. Whit- more, is too long a wait. So when she joined the College in June of this year, she immediately began to look for opportunities for greater efficiencies in the complaints process. One of the biggest gains, she believes, can be realized by managing more low risk matters to an early resolution. Of those approximately 2700 public complaints re- ceived annually, the Inquiries, Complaints, and Reports ISSUE 3, 2018 DIALOGUE 9