Proposed Changes to Health Professional Regulation In BC
On November 27, 2019, the Honourable Adrian Dix, minister of health, announced proposed changes to the regulation of BC’s health professions, with a focus on increasing transparency and patient safety.
The proposed changes, developed by the Steering Committee on Modernization of Health Professional Regulation, were presented in a consultation paper entitled “Modernizing the provincial health professional regulatory framework: A paper for consultation.”
Key recommendations made by the steering committee include:
- That regulatory boards have equal numbers of registrant and public members, and that they move to a more consistent and smaller size.
- A reduction in the number of regulatory colleges in BC from 20 to five.
- The creation of a new independent body to oversee BC’s health regulatory colleges.
- Simplification of the complaints and discipline process in order to provide clear focus on patient safety, public notification and strengthen public trust in regulation.
Statement from the College of Pharmacists of BC
What follows is an abbreviated version of the official submission to the Modernizing the Provincial Health Profession Regulatory Framework Consultation Paper, sent by the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia to the Steering Committee.
The full submission is available here:
The College of Pharmacists of British Columbia (CPBC) has a duty to serve the public by regulating pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, as well as licensing the pharmacies where they practice; which aligns with the government’s goal of increasing transparency, patient safety, accountability and public confidence in the health profession regulatory framework.
Much like the recommendations made by Harry Cayton in his report, many of the proposals in the consultation paper resonated with us as a high performing college, as they reinforced current practices already underway at CPBC. For example, the consultation paper proposes that regulatory college boards move to a more consistent and smaller size. CPBC’s current board is comprised of only twelve members.
Similarly, one of the major themes of the consultation paper is simplifying the complaints and discipline process in order to provide a clear focus on patient safety, public protection and strengthening public trust in regulation. CPBC’s current disciplinary process has been developed to be as independent as possible to ensure procedures are objective, impartial and fair.
We support amending the Health Professions Act or replacing it, to better enable efficient and effective health profession regulation in the public interest. In addition, we support moving toward greater public accountability and transparency in line with privacy and human rights legislation. Further, we support increasing public protection and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of regulation. As health care delivery shifts from individual professions to team-based care, the regulatory framework must also evolve. Where there is alignment between professions, amalgamation makes sense for efficiencies. We are supportive of reducing the number of regulatory colleges, but are concerned that five regulatory colleges may be too few and may result in public confusion due to a lack of alignment amongst amalgamated colleges as currently proposed. Any amalgamation should be conducted to better enable public navigation, access and understanding of health care regulation. We recommend that the Steering Committee consider the contemplated changes through the public lens to guide the rational alignment of colleges.
In light of the health care regulation reform work being conducted at this time, the Steering Committee may wish to consider taking a principle-based approach to naming each regulatory body that increases transparency and provides clarity to the public on who to turn to. We recommend that a college name reflect the profession(s) they regulate in order to enhance transparency and support easy patient navigation. In addition, we suggest that the Steering Committee consider replacing the word “College” in each regulatory body’s title to avoid confusion with any educational or academic organizations.
We commend the Steering Committee for their foresight and leadership, and for their work to reform health profession regulation in the public interest. We look forward to participating in this consultation process, and we are committed to assisting you in any way that we can.
Response to Modernizing the Provincial Health Profession Regulatory Framework Consultation Paper
The College has organized its response to the consultation paper to align with its five themes:
• improved governance,
• improved efficiency and effectiveness through a reduction in the number of regulatory colleges,
• strengthening the oversight of regulatory colleges, complaints and adjudication, and
• information sharing to improve patient safety and public trust.
Each theme has been broken down into subjects, including the specific proposals and stakeholder consultation questions from the consultation paper. The College’s response is provided for each of these.
- An Inquiry into the performance of the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia and the Health Professions Act (Harry Cayton, December 2018)
- Regulating Health Professions – Public Consultation Page (Government of British Columbia)
- Modernizing the provincial health professional regulatory framework: A paper for consultation (Steering Committee on Modernization of Health Profession Regulation, Nov 2019)
- News Release - Acting in the best interest of British Columbians forefront of CDSBC review (Ministry of Health, April 2019)
- Terms of Reference – In the Matter of an Inquiry under section 18.1 of the Health Professions Act R.S.B.C 1996 c. 183 (Province of British Columbia)