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Article
College of dental surgeons of british columbia


"British Columbia's health profession regulatory framework is undergoing significant reform."
Ministry Of Health, British Columbia

" Changing the entire legislative structure of the two largest health care services in British Columbia - Medicine and Dentistry - has had no significant public input to-date: There has been no public consultation in the form of tribunals or boards comprised of public representatives for the purpose of determining how the Health Professions Act legislation could better serve public interest and health care services. There was ongoing input for years from the medical and dental regulatory bodies in shaping the Health Professions Act and bylaws to suit their individual preferences. One of the outcomes of the lack of public involvement is that public representation on the regulatory bodies committees and councils will continue to be under-represented. The public is outnumbered in the decision-making processes by two to one (on some committees, the under-representation of public representatives is significantly less)."
The BC Health Professions Act
(and why you should care)

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college of dental surgeons of bc

The BC Health Professions Act (and why you should care) ...

According to the British Columbia Ministry Of Health, "British Columbia's health profession regulatory framework is undergoing significant reform."

There are 24 regulated health professions in British Columbia. The Health professions are regulated by 21 self-governing bodies (for example, The College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia regulates Dentistry or the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia is the regulatory body established for the health profession of medicine, etc). One of their key functions is to ensure that their members (ie. dentists and doctors) practise competently and ethically. All regulatory bodies administer and oversee public complaints regarding billing practices, conduct, treatments and work performed. The regulatory bodies work very much on the peer evaluation principle which has led to public complaints that the profession protects its own and its own interests.

The transistion of the two largest professions, dentistry and medicine, from their respective legistation to the Health Professions Act is scheduled to occur in 2009:
    - effective June 1, 2009, the repeal of the Medical Practitioners Act will be brought into force and the profession of medicine will be designated under the Health Professions Act.
    - effective April 3, 2009, the repeal of the Dentists Act will be brought into force and the profession of dentistry will be designated under the Health Professions Act.


The provincial government relied primarily on a former Health Professions Council which was an independent advisory body having two main functions: To investigate applications by health care practitioner groups seeking designation as a self-regulated profession, and to consider any matter involving a health profession referred to the Council by the Minister.

Changing the entire legislative structure of the two largest health care services in British Columbia - Medicine and Dentistry - had no significant public input: There was no public consultation in the form of tribunals or boards comprised of public representatives for the purpose of determining how the Health Professions Act legislation could better serve public interest and health care services. There was ongoing input for years from the medical and dental regulatory bodies in shaping the Health Professions Act and bylaws to suit their individual preferences.

One of the outcomes of the lack of public involvement is that public representation on the regulatory bodies committees and councils will continue to be under-represented. Under the current legislation, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia council is made up of ten of its membership and five public representatives. The College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia council is made up of twelve of its membership and six public representatives. The public is outnumbered in the decision-making processes by two to one (on some committees, the under-representation of public representatives is significantly less).

An example of the various committees that directly deal with public matters in the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia is demonstrated below, detailing membership and public representation:

Ethics Committee (January, 2009) 7 college members, 3 college staff, 2 public representatives
Inquiry Committee (January, 2009) 12 college members, 1 college staff, 5 public representatives
Practice Standards Committee (January, 2009) 9 college members, 1 college staff, 3 public representatives
Professional Conduct Committee (January, 2009) 11 college members, 2 college staff, 3 public representatives
Quality Assurance Committee (January, 2009) 7 college members, 3 college staff, 2 public representatives


Equal public representation on the regulatory bodies committees and councils would ensure that decisions affecting the public's health and dental care services include at minimal, equal public input. Regulation of dental and medical services should not be underpresented by those who use those services - namely, British Columbia patients.

One of the outcomes of unequal public representation in the health care field decision-making processes can be seen in the BC College Of Dental Surgeons recent initiative in the BC Supreme Court where the College attempted to prevent the public from having any appeals rights under its legislation, Did the regulatory body for BC dental care go too far in taking the public to task in the courts? The court action occurred against a dental patient who appealed the College's investigation decision to take no action in regard to one its members.

Update Letter to BC Premier and Health Minister

British Columbians are also urged to email the following letter in support of equal public representation on all the committees and the Council of the College Of Dental Surgeons Of BC and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia




More on the College Of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia

The cost to the public for dental complaints investigation information  · 
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