The Physician’s Response to a Complaint

Following receipt of a written complaint about a physician, a medical consultant will send a copy of the complaint to the physician and require a response from the physician within thirty days.  The response should:

  • address the substance of the complaint;
  • include pertinent particulars;
  • provide the record of the care provided to the complainant.

Timeliness of the response is important.  Extensions may be granted in appropriate circumstances.  Failure to respond within the time limit without a reasonable excuse is not helpful to the physician’s position and may be professional misconduct.

The physician’s response is an opportunity for the physician to:

  • explain the care or conduct of concern;
  • provide the physician’s version of the events leading to the complaint;
  • apologize to the complainant if the circumstances warrant an apology;
  • provide particulars of any steps the physician has taken or proposes to take to address the complaint or any underlying problems that the physician recognizes have been raised by the complaint, where appropriate.

A copy of the response will be provided to the complainant and may resolve the complaint.  However, if the Complaints Committee considers the concerns raised in the complaint to be sufficiently serious to warrant further action, the College may continue to investigate the matter, even if the complaint is withdrawn.

The physician may choose to consult with legal counsel or contact the Canadian Medical Protective Association for assistance with the response.