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British Columbia launches on-line complaint site

VANCOUVER – British Columbia has announced a new toll-free phone number and website as part of a new process that better enables patients to register complaints about the quality of their healthcare experience in the province.

“We all want a quality health system – a system that provides us with appropriate, consistent and timely care; a system that is transparent and accountable; and a system that treats every patient with respect and dignity,” said Health Minister George Abbott. “And today we are delivering on our Throne Speech commitment for a new process that provides patients with the opportunity to better resolve concerns and further improve the quality of our world-class healthcare system.”

In support of the new patient care review process, the Minister also announced the appointment of members to six new Patient Care Quality Review Boards, one for each health authority. The role of the review boards is to help seek solutions to individual concerns that have not been satisfactorily resolved by the health authority’s own patient quality care office. Members of the review boards are drawn from the local community, and are independent of the health authorities.

As of October, each of B.C.’s six health authorities have a centralized Patient Care Quality Office. Patients, or family members of patients, who have concerns about their experience are encouraged first to resolve the issue with the service provider, and if still unsatisfied, to contact the local patient care quality office.

The offices register all complaints and track them through the health authority review process to ensure a timely response. If patients feel their concern is still not resolved by the patient care quality office, they can take their concerns to the patient care quality review board for consideration of an independent review.

“The patient care quality review boards will not only directly respond to patients who have concerns, but also share the lessons learned with the health authorities and government so we can continue improving our healthcare system,” said Dr. Jack Chritchley, chair of the Patient Care Quality Review Boards for Vancouver Coastal, Fraser and Provincial Health Services. “I am pleased to play a role in this new process and believe that the boards will support the public’s confidence and further strengthen the quality of our healthcare system.”

The review boards have been established as a result of the Patient Care Quality Review Board Act, which was introduced to create a robust complaints process and provide a mechanism to continuously improve B.C.’s healthcare system. The act requires:

• Each health authority to establish a central patient-care quality office, which can receive concerns from patients or their loved ones in person, by telephone, fax or email.

• Each health authority to follow a standardized process in receiving, tracking and responding to care quality concerns.

• Each health authority to meet timelines in responding to public complaints within 30 business days.

• Review boards to make recommendations to the health authorities and the minister with the goal of continuously improving the health care system.

• Review boards to report annually to the minister on the number and type of complaints received, the timeliness of service, the recommendations made, and other related information.

For more information on B.C.’s review boards please visit the website at