It is in fact difficult for the Committee to imagine a clearer example of an offence relevant to a physician’s suitability to practise than a finding, as in this case, that he has assaulted his patients in his office during the course of a medical examination.However, the committee ultimately concluded that he was a low risk to reoffend. The panel noted that “the rehabilitative needs of
It is theThe College further argued that the committee’s penalty ruling was made “without regard to changing social values around penalties for sexual abuse committed by physicians on their patients”. This marked a departure from the CPSO’s standard operating procedure, as the College does not regularly appeal decisions of the discipline committee. However, groping remains a grey area in terms of physician behavior that results in a penalty, and the appeal is indicative of the CPSO’s attempt to proactively address such actions. In almost every other form of sexual assault, including oral sex, masturbation, and penetration, the penalty is mandatory revocation of a medical license. In situations involving groping, whether or not to revoke a license is at the discretion of the discipline committee. Following the committee’s decision, and in another rare move, the CPSO publicly commented on the matter, telling the Toronto Star that:
position that revocation, which was the penalty it sought before the committee, is the appropriate penalty in this case, given the utterly egregious and deliberate nature of the respondent’s sexual misconduct towards his female patients
The College is disappointed in the discipline panel’s decision not to revoke
licence… ouncil supports revisions to the legislation that would require mandatory revocation in any case where physical sexual contact with a patient is proven to have occurred.
The public’s confidence in the medical profession demands more from the disciplinary process than recent sexual abuse discipline cases suggest…In the case of sexual touching of breasts of multiple female patients under the pretense of a medical exam, I would expect the committee to be debating whether to revoke the member’s registration or impose a suspension measured in years, as opposed to months.The Court went on to say:
The facts of these cases are base. It is depressing to review them. They do little to encourage confidence in the committee’s approach to eradicating sexual abuse in the profession. Consistency in the imposition of sentence is a proper consideration, but a litany of clearly unfit penalties does not justify the penalty imposed in the present case…The penalty imposed … was clearly unfit. It was inadequate to protect the public and vindicate the integrity of the profession.Following the Divisional Court decision, the CPSO commented again to the Toronto Star, stating:
Sexual abuse is a serious violation of the doctor-patient relationship. As we have advocated for in our sexual abuse initiative, and set out in our proposal to the Minister of Health to amend legislation, penalties for sex abuse must contribute meaningfully to the eradication of sexual abuse in the professionThe physician appealed the Divisional Court decision.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario has issued an updated Directive #2 (dated May 26, 2020) for Regulated Health Professionals in the province.
Pursuant to the updated Directive #2, all deferred non-essential and elective services by health care providers may be gradually restarted – subject to the rest of the requirements set out in the Directive.
The updated Directive #2 does not provide particularly detailed guidance to health professionals on how to proceed, likely because it applies to such a broad spectrum of health care and health professionals. It does, however, provide some principles to assist health care providers in making decisions as we enter this transitional period.
In addition to the mask and hand sanitizer shortages, Ontario’s response to COVID-19 highlights the need for more frontline health care workers. Each regulated health profession’s college responded differently, and we have discussed some of those changes in other posts to keep you apprised.
Today, we focus on the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO), who set out to increase the number of available and licenced physicians out on the frontlines through certificates of registration that authorize supervised practice of short duration. The temporary licences authorize practice for 30 days.
Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has affected how health professionals practice. Pharmacists across the country are not only experiencing changes in how they practice (for example, accepting emailed prescriptions, where appropriate) but the scope of their practice as well. The latter change is not permanent, although the disruptions in practice may be felt long after the COVID-19 emergency subsides.
On March 19, 2020, Health Canada issued a short-term section 56(1) exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) that would authorize pharmacists to prescribe, sell, or provide controlled substances in limited circumstances, or transfer prescriptions for controlled substances (the CDSA Exemption).