November 30, 2020
Note: This article was originally published in our Autumn 2020 edition of our On Call newsletter, and has not been updated.
The College has noticed an increase in the amount of complaints it has received over the past few months.
As part of its mandate, the College works to protect the public interest by investigating complaints received about midwives to ensure Ontarians have access to safe, effective, and ethical care. The College has a duty to investigate all complaints and there is a formal process that the College follows to receive, investigate, and process them. There is no time limit to file a complaint. To learn more about the College’s complaints process, please click here.
This year, there has been a noticeable increase in the amount of complaints the College has already received in comparison to previous years. The chart below outlines the number of complaints received in the last fiscal year, and the amount of complaints received to date this year.
The Inquiries, Complaints, and Reports Committee (ICRC) is responsible for investigating complaints and determining what action should be taken to protect the public. The ICRC deliberates on complaints in panels. These panels are comprised of both midwives and members of the public who are appointed by the provincial government to represent the views of the public.
A file is closed when the ICRC issues its decision. This year, 19 complaints and six Registrar’s Investigations have already been closed by the ICRC. The chart below outlines the total amount of complaints that have been closed to date compared to the last fiscal year.
39 complaints and nine Registrar’s Investigations were carried over to Q3. If decisions are rendered on these outstanding matters within this fiscal year, the College could potentially triple the amount of decisions rendered compared to the previous year.
There have been no known indications as to why there is such a large increase in complaints over the last few months, but the College has seen a growing trend of complaints that include components involving communication.
The ICRC relies on complete and accurate midwifery records when it investigates a complaint. Documenting informed choice discussions is not only a standard but assists the ICRC when making a determination on a complaint in instances where communication may be an issue. The College would like to remind midwives to review the Professional Standards for Midwives as it sets out the minimum requirements regarding your practice and conduct.
The College will provide data on common themes it is seeing through the intake of new complaints, and the issues being investigated through Registrar’s Investigations in the next On Call newsletter. Quarterly reports on the work of the ICRC can be found in the Council meeting materials here.