Medical Professionals Complaints - Considerations

Was the Complaint Committee's Investigation Adequate or Inadequate?

The HPARB panel will decide only whether the decision of the complaints committee was reasonable and adequate, so all of your arguments must focus on either or both of those issues.

It is difficult to show that the investigation of the complaints committee was inadequate.

The HPARB will look at the record of investigation (ROI) and decide whether the complaints committee looked at all available documents and spoke with people whose information would be relevant when they made the decision.  

If you would like the HPARB to look at the adequacy of the investigation, think about:

  • Whether there are any missing documents that would have been helpful for the complaints committee to see.
  • Whether there are people with important information about the complaint who were not interviewed by the complaints committee.  
  • Whether the complaints committee didn’t consider a piece of information that they should have.

You will not win your case by showing that a document is missing from the ROI if the document would not have changed the complaints committee decision.

For example, in previous cases, the HPARB panel has written,  “an investigation has to be adequate and not exhaustive and the panel is satisfied that a reasonable attempt was made by the college investigator to provide this material to the committee. The board finds the investigation adequate.”

Was the Complaints Committee's Decision Reasonable or Unreasonable?

Within the HPARB, the word reasonable has a special meaning. It means that the decision of the complaints committee is supported by the information in the ROI.

It is difficult to show that the decision of the complaints committee was unreasonable. It is important to understand that the decision of the complaints committee does not need to be right; it just needs to be reasonable, i.e., supported by the information in the ROI.

For example, in previous decisions, the HPARB panel has written, "In considering the reasonableness of the Committee’s decision, the question for the Board is not whether the Board would arrive at the same decision as the Committee; rather it is whether the Committee’s decision is within a range of reasonable outcomes."

The HPARB will not replace the complaints committee decision for its own just because they might disagree with it. If the complaints committee decision seems logical, and is based on the information in the ROI, it will be considered reasonable. It is only when HPARB thinks the committee’s decision does not make sense that it will find it unreasonable.

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