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The Ontario government yesterday passed Bill 141 to permit health-profession regulatory bodies, including the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, to compel members to cooperate with investigations and to permit regulators to perform "direct observation of a member in his or her practice, including the direct observation by inspectors of procedures."
"Our government is taking yet another step to improve patient safety in the province," said Health Minister David Caplan (left) in a release. "This legislation will ensure that patients receive safe and high quality care from their health care providers, using the best medical equipment in the most secure settings."
The new legislation grants the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario a powerful new set of investigative tools, well beyond what had previously been available to the College.
The new powers are necessary, Mr Caplan said in introducing the bill in December, in light of the recent revelation that GPs in Ontario were performing cosmetic surgeries without any safety oversight. (Canadian Medicine reported on the proposed law's introduction in the legislature on December 11.)
Though Bill 141 received support from both opposition parties, neither was entirely pleased with the bill.
One MPP, Rosario Marchese, of the New Democratic Party, argued in February that while Bill 141 was undoubtedly "good regulatory practice," it didn't go far enough. "We've got to do what other provinces are doing -- recognizing the importance of extensive monitoring," he said. "In some of these provinces, like British Columbia and Alberta, all surgeons and the surgical facilities they operate in must be licensed for each procedure they perform. That's the way it should be."
During the same session, Randy Hillier, who is running for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party, said Bill 141 was yet another "unproductive, counterproductive" and burdensome regulation that have been "choking off prosperity." Mr Hillier lamented that legislators seemed to be "chasing our tails all the time over insignificant, incremental regulatory creep."
NDP health critic France Gélinas hailed the final version of the bill as a step towards better protecting patients in Ontario, though like Mr Marchese she too added that the province still had more to do. "Just remember that 50% of physicians graduated in the bottom half of their class; 50% of nurses graduated in the bottom half of their class," she said, as representatives from the CPSO looked on. "The colleges are there so that there are no unqualified and incompetent people practising in Ontario. Their role is so important that it should go without saying that as a member of such a college, you have a duty to your college, because that duty is to provide safe care to the people of Ontario."
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario welcomed the new law. "It is absolutely critical that the College have the tools it needs to ensure that doctors, taking care of patients in Ontario, have the skills and knowledge to do so safely and effectively," Dr Rayudu Koka, the CPSO's president, said in a release. "And, the public expects that a fundamental part of being a regulated health professional includes that kind of oversight."
Posted by David Elkins and others at 5:17 PM
Labels: cosmetic surgery, law, Ontario