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Nunavut

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Physicians Licensing

Nunavut Department of Health, Patient Relations

Optional: Filing a complaint

Background

The majority of doctors in Nunavut are family physicians who provide ambulatory care and emergency care. Doctors obtain licensing through the  Medical Registration Committee of Nunavut. The Governing body at Nunavut’s Department of Health and Social Services (HSS) runs the health facilities of the different communities in Nunavut. Within the HSS, the Chief Medical Officer of Health establishes and maintains professional standards and best practices as well as advocates for improvement of health. Due to the limited services available in Nunavut, patients often need to be transferred to a different community, or even province, to receive the necessary care.

Nunavut has specific medical travel policies in place which regulate issues such as patient eligibility and travel escorts.  There are also procedures in place for appealing a decision to deny medical travel. However, it important to bear in mind that if a patient is moved in order to receive treatment in a different province the complaints procedure is likely to change accordingly.

The patient and clients complaints procedure of the Government of Nunavut’s Health and Social Services Department will be reviewed this summer in order to make the process clearer and more comprehensive. A motion passed by the government indicates the review is to be completed by the fall 2012 meeting of the legislative assembly (see website article listed above).

Navigating the site and steps in the complaints process

No detailed complaints process is evident on the Department of Health and Social Services site for doctors or hospital/health centre care.

Nunavut has two client services coordinators who receive complaints directed to their departments. There are public information brochures for the three regions and the capital, Iqaluit, that address complaints about any care or service provided in or outside Nunavut.

One of the Territorial Client Services Coordinators can assist in the investigation of the complaint. Assistance is available in Inuktitut, English or Inuinnaqtun.

  1. You are encouraged to talk to the person who provided the care or service. The site recommends giving a detailed description of your complaint and any outcomes you are hoping for.
  2. After raising your concern, you may be referred to a supervisor, manager or another staff member.
  3. If you do not feel your concern has been properly addressed, you should bring your complaint to the Nurse In Charge in the community, or to the Director of Social Programs. Contact for each community is listed on the public information brochures.
  4. If your complaint is about unprofessional practice of a medical practitioner in Nunavut, you can direct your concerns to the Registrar, who will then advise about the process. You will be directed to the investigating officer appointed through the Medical Profession Act.
  5. If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of the process at this point, you should contact the Regional Director in the region in writing or by telephone.

Relevant material

MLAs Call for a Review of Patient Complaints Procedure

Appeals process

The complaint process aims to reach a satisfactory resolution for the complainant. If this is not achieved, the complainant may appeal by contacting the Assistant Deputy Minister of Operations, and if necessary to the Deputy Minister of Health & Social Services.

Who is involved (apart from the complainant)

The Department of Health and Social Services, one of the Territorial Client Services Coordinators, Nurse In Charge, and the physician.

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