Complaints & Investigations

Complaint & Investigations

The College responds to and investigates complaints from all members of the public about doctors licensed to practice medicine in Nova Scotia. The College is focused on public safety, while ensuring fairness and due process for all parties involved in the complaint process.

The new Medical Act provides more mechanisms to address public complaints. The previous legislation required all complaints be assessed by a committee. Now complaints that would not warrant a rendering of professional misconduct can be dismissed by the Registrar.

When to File

There is no time limit to file a complaint. The earlier a complaint is received, the sooner any possible risks to the public can be addressed. If a complaint is received long after an event, it may be difficult to obtain information necessary to investigate the complaint. 

Who Can File?

A person who files a written complaint with the College is known as a "complainant". Complaints about physicians can come from anyone, including:

  • Patients
  • Patients’ families
  • Other physicians
  • A third party

A third party may file a complaint regarding the care provided to someone else, if the patient does not give consent. In this instance, any documentation collected is only shared with the physician and the College. The third party receives a final report.

After a Complaint is Filed

All information received during the course of an investigation by the College is copied to the physician named in the complaint.

The College recommends that you avoid contact with your physician during the course of the investigation. In rare circumstances, it may be necessary for the patient-physician relationship to continue. You are encouraged to contact the College before doing so.

All complaints received or under investigation, all information gathered in the course of the professional conduct process and all proceedings and decisions of an investigation committee and a hearing committee that are not open to or available to others in accordance with the Medical Act or the regulations must be kept confidential by any persons who possess such information.

The College makes every effort to resolve complaints as quickly as possible. If all required information is received from all parties, most complaints are resolved within three to six months. There is no cost to file a complaint.

Filing a complaint »