Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I file a Complaint Anonymously?
- While complaints are confidential, they are not anonymous. When we notify the doctor that we have received a complaint, we will provide them with a copy of your complaint form and give them the opportunity to response.
2. Can I continue seeing the doctor I made a complaint against?
- You should be aware that making a formal complaint about a doctor often damages the doctor-patient relationship. The College encourages conflict resolution whenever possible, but many doctors may decide that they cannot continue the relationship. You may need to find another doctor if that happens. However, this should not stop you from complaining about serious concerns.
3. Is There a Time Limit to File a Complaint?
- There is no time limit to file a complaint. We do recommend that you tell us what happened as soon as possible after the event. By doing so, it becomes more likely that:
- relevant documents can be found;
- potential witnesses can be located;
- memories have not faded; and
- evidence is not missing.
- Doctors are not required to hold onto medical records forever – records may be destroyed after a defined period of time. This may impact our ability to investigate your complaint.
4. How Long Does the Complaints Process Take?
- The College makes every effort to resolve complaints as quickly as possible. Depending on the complexity of your complaint, it may take six months or more for your complaint to be resolved.
5. What Are the Possible Outcomes of a Complaint Investigation?
- After the College’s Committee reviews all relevant information, it has four choices:
- Dismiss the complaint (sometimes giving the doctor direction)
- Give the doctor a warning or guidance (“caution / counsel”)
- Send the complaint to alternative dispute resolution
- Ask the College Registrar to refer the complaint to a public hearing.
6. Will I Receive Compensation?
- The College cannot order a doctor to compensate a patient. If you are seeking financial compensation you may want to seek legal advice.
7. What happens if I am not satisfied with the College’s decision?
- Complaints that are dismissed can be appealed to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador within 30 days. The College cannot assist you with this process. We recommended that you seek legal advice if you are considering filing an appeal.