In our last blog post, we discussed the report of Mr. Justice Gouge on the physician complaint process. The second referral to Mr. Justice Stephen Goudge in March of 2016 by the Ministry of Health and Long Tem Care (the Ministry) was to conduct a review of the civil justice system concerning the management and handling of medical malpractice actions. The Ministry's concern was the ever increasing cost of such litigation and the length of time it was taking to achieve a resolution. Although the delay in receiving compensation was the Ministry's main concern, this delay before closure issue also encompassed actions that were dismissed without compensation being received again after considerable delay.
The report was released just over one year ago. It found that the total number of malpractice actions in Ontario had remained relatively constant since 1990. However, the costs associated with those actions over the years had increased by four to five times what they were in 1990. This increase in cost was related to the defence costs for lawyers and the damage awards paid to resolve the cases. This analysis did not account for inflation. The report was also limited based on the reliance on anecdotal evidence and the absence of any empirical data.
Despite the passage of one year, none of the recommendations have been acted upon by the government. Whether they will be in the future is anyone's guess. However, the present government appears bound to reducing costs wherever it can. The recommendations may appeal to the Ministry shortly or least during their mandate. We will keep following any developments that occur.
For more information about medical malpractice litigation, or if you have other health law related questions, contact the health law litigators at Wise Health Law for forward-thinking, expert advice about health law matters and related litigation. We have significant trial and appellate experience and are passionate about helping health professionalsand health care organizations understand and protect their legal rights. Contact us online or at 416-915-4234for a consultation.
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).