Expectations and Concerns

Your involvement in the complaints process

The College is committed to addressing public complaints against physicians, physician assistants and clinical assistants in a fair and transparent fashion. Most complaints are addressed through our written process and the outcome is decided by the Complaints Committee.

We recognize that some concerns can be addressed through a discussion with the doctor who was involved. You should consider having a discussion with your doctor about your concerns. The doctor may not realize that you have a concern and may be able to provide further information, an explanation, and/or an apology to resolve the issue.

If you wish your concern to be addressed through our complaints process, you will be asked to submit your complaint in writing before it will be investigated. This will be provided to the physician who is the subject of the complaint and they will be required to respond. The College has authority to access your medical information to investigate your complaint, but it is our general practice to ask for consent to release the information to the College.

It is important that you understand that your relationship with the physician who is the subject of your complaint is unlikely to continue.

What the College can do to address concerns

It is impossible for a doctor to provide perfect care all the time, but the College expects that when problems arise, doctors will take responsibility and help patients address the issues of concern. Most physicians take the advice or criticism provided by the College seriously and take steps to improve.

Where a complaint shows the need for a physician to change their behaviour or to improve an aspect of their practice, the College may require assessment and/or further training.

In circumstances where the conduct of a physician includes a serious error (especially if the physician is not prepared to acknowledge it), the College may pursue formal discipline against that doctor in order to adequately protect the public.

The College has the authority to restrict or take away a physician’s right to practice where it has determined that a physician is not fit to practice medicine for reasons such as they are too ill to practice safely, are not competent, or have committed a serious act of professional misconduct and their continued practice puts the public at risk.

What the College cannot do to address concerns

The College does not handle general complaints regarding medical matters or concerns about other health care professionals. We only take action where concerns relate to individual physicians who are practicing in Manitoba. Concerns or complaints about other healthcare professionals should be directed to the appropriate professional regulatory body.

The College does not have authority to:

  • Obtain financial compensation for complainants;
  • Force a doctor to provide the treatment a complainant wants;
  • Arrange for alternative medical care or a referral to a specialist;
  • Make a doctor apologize to a complainant.