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Don't keep complaints against B.C. dentists a secret: health minister

Last Updated Apr 11, 2019 at 10:57 pm PDT

(iStock Photo)

Too much secrecy is one of the concerns being raised against the B.C. College of Dental Surgeons

B.C.'s health minister says the college isn't meeting expectations 40 per cent of the time

The college is being given 30 days to make changes

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Clean up your act: that’s the message for the B.C. College of Dental Surgeons.

The Health Minister has put the regulator on 30 days notice to bring in 21 changes, including eliminating secrecy.

A close look at the province’s college of dental surgeons found they’re not meeting expectations 40 per cent of the time. Failures include being secretive about dentists who have done wrong, and focusing on themselves, not patients.

Adrian Dix says there are some areas seriously needing improvement.

“Signficant ongoing dysfunction at the college including distrust of professional staff and advocacy,” he says. “The college has an underlying resistance to being fully focused on the safety of patients.”

Harry Cayton who government hired for the investigation is calling for substantiated dentist complaints to be public and a greater patient focus.

“Is it absolutely focused on it’s mandate in the interests of the people of BC or is it thinking about dentists and what’s good for patients rather than what’s good for patients?” he says.

Cayton says the college’s recent strategic plan is immensely better than the last that didn’t even mention patients, and was only focused on what was good for dentists.

College says they will make changes

In a statement posted to the college’s website, Board President Dr. Peter Lobb and Registrar and CEO Dr. Chris Hacker say they will meet the health minister’s expectations and the deadline he set.

“Minister Dix has provided a clear directive and we commit to meeting his expectations to demonstrate that we are protecting the public and working on behalf of patients and the public. We will meet the deadline the Minister has set to provide an implementation plan within 30 days. Our work begins immediately,” reads the statement.

The college says undergoing Clayton’s review was a “constructive experience and opportunity to better serve the public we are here to protect.”

– With files from Lauren Boothby