You may have concerns about how you were treated by your doctor or other health care professional. A good place to start is by talking to the person about your concerns. If available you could also talk to a supervisor. If you are still not satisfied you have options.
One option is to contact the local Quality of Care Coordinator for your area. A Quality of Care Coordinator, sometimes referred to as a client representative or patient advocate, can help you understand your rights and explain available options for resolving your concerns.
The Ministry of Health is responsible for appointing members of the public to the councils of these health professional associations. The public representatives ensure that the associations act fairly and in the public interest.
Many health care providers are members of professional associations. These associations license or register professionals in their field and deal with complaints. Examples are the College of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan, the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association. You can contact the appropriate professional association to get more information or to make a complaint.
Some health care providers, such as those offering "alternative" therapies, may be unlicensed and without a governing professional association. There is no official complaint procedure against these individuals.
The Ombudsman is a public official who deals with complaints against any agency of the provincial government. The Ombudsman can deal with complaints about how you were treated by agencies such as:
Some emergency services are also provincial agencies. It’s important to note that the Ombudsman cannot deal with complaints about an individual health care professional.
The Information and Privacy Commissioner is responsible for overseeing privacy legislation and can investigate complaints regarding privacy of your personal health information or access to your health records.
Sometimes the conduct of a health care provider may be criminal. You can complain to the police or to a Crown Prosecutor if you believe a health care provider has committed a criminal offence against you.
There are some exceptions to the general two-year limitation period. For example, there are special exceptions for minors and patients suffering a mental disability. This area of the law can be complicated. Again, you should consult a lawyer as soon as possible.
The law of negligence covers medical malpractice. You may be able to sue a health care professional if you have suffered harm as a result of a treatment by a health care professional. You will only succeed in a legal action if the care provided by the health care professional fell below the standard that would be expected of a professional of similar qualifications exercising reasonable care, skill and knowledge. You may also be able to sue a health care professional if the health care professional did not obtain informed consent for the procedure.
If you are considering taking action against any health care provider or any health care facility, you should consult a lawyer as soon as possible.
There are specific time limits and certain notice requirements. Talking to a lawyer as soon as possible can help ensure that your rights are protected. Generally speaking, patients have two years after they knew, or ought to have known, that they had a claim against a health care provider. There is an ultimate limitation period of fifteen years. This means that even if a patient was unaware that they had a claim, one cannot be brought after fifteen years from the date the injury or damage occurred.
PLEA can provide you with information to help you understand many legal matters you, a family member or friend may be facing.