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Ontario passes law to allow observation of doctors at work

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."

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4 comments:

  1. sharonApril 8, 2009 at 5:30 PM

    Why does that picture of the health minister look like an actor from the movie "TRUMAN"????????????????

    P.S. "Peer" reviews are good :)

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  2. Ontario Hospital AssociationApril 21, 2009 at 11:38 AM

    You and your readers may be interested in knowing that the Ontario Hospital Association recently launched a website called myhospitalcare.ca to help the general public access easy-to-understand hospital performance information. You can learn more by visiting the website at http://www.myhospitalcare.ca, checking out the Toronto Star article on this website at http://www.thestar.com/Comment/article/619279, or joining us for our webinar on April 29th where OHA's President and CEO Tom Closson will show you how easy it is for patients to learn more about their local hospitals. Interested participants can register at https://secure.e-RegisterNow.com/cgi-bin/mkpayment.cgi?MID=738&state=step2direct&event=500000022357861

    Delete
  3. sharonApril 21, 2009 at 12:51 PM

    RE: the OHA website

    In checking the scores against a hospital performance pattern I am familiar with... I would say "well done".

    It will be interesting to see if more indicators are included in the future.

    Delete
  4. Mitchell SexnerOctober 15, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    I think this movement is very positive which allows a live observation of doctors while they are hard at work. The observing authority would then get to see there and then all the necessary procedures which they wish to witness in person. Any medical malpractice or surgical error that might have either been intentionally or non-intentionally concealed will then be revealed and corrective work action can be implemented as soon as possible to prevent any further damages.

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