Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a care quality complaint?
- What kind of complaints will the review boards review?
- What kind of complaints will the review boards not review?
- Will the review boards review complaints about physicians or other health professionals?
- Can the review board review complaints about residential care facilities?
- Will the review boards review complaints about BC Ambulance Service?
- How do I request a review?
- When can I request a review?
- What happens when I request a review?
- Why can't I submit my review request anonymously?
- What kind of recommendations could a review board make?
- Will the review boards make recommendations regarding financial compensation?
- What is the relationship between the review boards and the ombudsperson?
- What is the relationship between the review boards and the health authority boards?
- Are the Patient Care Quality Review Boards different from the Health Professions Review Board?
- Why are there six review boards rather than one?
- How are review board members chosen?
- How many members sit on each review board?
- Where are the review board offices located?
- What is the role of the secretariat?
- How many people work in the secretariat?
- Can I request a review in a language other than English?
A "care quality complaint" refers to a complaint about the quality of any health care service that a patient/client/resident received, or expected but did not receive, from a health authority.
Review boards will review:
- Complaints about the quality of any health care service under the jurisdiction of the health authorities. These complaints must first have been addressed by a health authority Patient Care Quality Office.
- Complaints about services expected but not delivered by the health authority
- Care quality complaints that were not addressed by the Patient Care Quality Office within 40 business days.
- Matters directed by the Minister of Health
Review boards will not review care quality complaints regarding:
- Health professionals providing services in private practice, where the services are funded by MSP or PharmaCare (e.g., general practitioner and pharmacist services).
- Health care or related services that are paid for entirely by the patient, or by the patient and a private insurer (e.g., dental care, alternative therapies, fully private pay home support).
- Health care or services provided in privately funded surgical centres or facilities, unless these are provided under contract with a health authority.
- Health care or services provided by HealthLink BC, such as 8-1-1, where the services are funded by the Ministry of Health.
- Child care complaints.
- Complaints about assisted living services that were not provided by a health authority.
- Complaints about involuntary admissions under the Mental Health Act.
- Complaints about a decision of a medical health officer or delegate under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act.
- Complaints about a decision of the Community Care and Assisted Living Act Appeal Board.
If a review board receives a complaint about a physician or other health professional contracted to or employed by a health authority to provide services (e.g., within a hospital), the board will assess the nature of the complaint to determine whether it is the most appropriate body to conduct a review. If another body is more appropriate to review the complaint, the review board may redirect the complainant to that body. For example, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC and the College of Registered Nurses of BC both consider complaints regarding breaches of professional conduct. Similarly, the Emergency Medical Assistant Licensing Board reviews complaints about emergency medical assistants (paramedics). The Patient Care Quality Review Board Act does not replace the complaint investigation authority of professional bodies.
Yes, residential care facilities are covered by the Patient Care Quality Review Board Act. People who wish to complain about care received in a residential care facility are encouraged to contact the facility administrator or the health authority's Patient Care Quality Office. People who feel that their complaint about care received in a residential care facility was not addressed to their satisfaction at the health authority level may request an independent review by the Patient Care Quality Review Board.
Note: A complaint regarding a breach of the Resident's Bill of Rights is considered a care quality complaint and can be brought to the health authority's Patient Care Quality Office and, if not resolved, to a Patient Care Quality Review Board for review.
Yes. If you have a concern about the quality of care you received from the BC Ambulance Service, you may wish to contact the Provincial Health Services Authority's Patient Care Quality Office (PCQO). The Provincial Health Services Authority’s PCQO will review the matter and provide you with a response to your complaint, as well as information on any decisions or actions taken as a result.
If you have already contacted the Patient Care Quality Office and remain unsatisfied, you may request a review by the Patient Care Quality Review Board.
You can request a review by using one of the following methods:
Patient Care Quality Review Board
PO Box 9643
Victoria BC V8W 9V1
If you are unable to submit a written request, please call 1-866-952-2448. A review board officer will complete the form on your behalf and send you a copy for you to sign.
If you are not satisfied with how the health authority's Patient Care Quality Office (PCQO) handled your complaint or the response you received, or if you have not received a response from the PCQO within 40 business days, you can request a review by the appropriate review board.
Read more about the review process here.
Review boards cannot consider anonymous review requests because they must be able to obtain the consent of the patient before reviewing his/her personal health information.
A review board could make a broad range of recommendations. For example, they could recommend that the health authority Patient Care Quality Office reconsider the complaint, or they could recommend changes in policies, procedures and practices to improve patient care quality.
The boards may comment on the appropriateness of a fee charged by a health authority, but the boards have no authority to order compensation. The board’s role is to review and recommend upon care quality issues and since they do not adjudicate, they do not comment upon requests for financial compensation.
Patient Care Quality Review Boards and the ombudsperson have no formal relationship. The intent of the review boards is to provide people with timely reviews of complaints related to health care services, and to provide a mechanism for tracking and monitoring patient care quality complaints. The Office of the Ombudsperson considers a broad range of complaints relating to the practices and services of a variety of provincial government ministries or agencies. Complainants are encouraged to submit their complaint for review through the patient care quality mechanisms available (e.g., the Patient Care Quality Office in the health authority, the independent review board) before referring to the Office of the Ombudsperson.
Patient Care Quality Review Boards are independent of the health authorities, and accountable to the Minister of Health. Recommendations by review boards to health authorities will be issued from board to board. A copy of the recommendations will be sent to the health authority board and copied to the CEO and Patient Care Quality Office, as well as the minister. Health authority boards are accountable to the minister for the operation of the health authority, and therefore the organization's response to recommendations.
Yes. The Patient Care Quality Review Boards review patient complaints related to the quality of care provided by a health authority. By contrast, the Health Professions Review Board reviews college decisions regarding individual cases of registration refusal or complaints from members of the public about registrants.
Just as six separate health authorities are necessary to effectively represent local regions around the province, six corresponding boards ensure local needs are met and that complaints are reviewed in a timely manner.
Members of the review boards are appointed by the Minister of Health based on their expertise and experience, and will exclude current health authority employees, board members and contractors.
Collectively, the review board members may reflect the following qualities:
- clinical experience;
- experience in procedural/administrative law and/or experience in adjudication or decision-making;
- knowledge of the health care system with an interest in quality improvement;
- previous experience in client relations or a strong service orientation; and
- knowledge of, and an appreciation for, a broad range of cultural interests.
The review boards for Island Health and Northern Health have up to five members, including the board chair. The Interior Health review board has up to six members. The Lower Mainland health authorities (Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health and the Provincial Health Services Authority) have up to seven members each, who are cross-appointed to the three boards.
Review boards do not have physical offices. Their members meet as required in a mutually convenient location. A single secretariat located in Victoria provides administrative support to the six review boards.
The secretariat provides administrative support to the six review boards. The secretariat is the liaison between the review boards, the health authorities and the Minister of Health. The secretariat works on behalf of the review boards to receive requests from people wishing to have a review.
Currently, the secretariat has a staff of 13, including a director, a manager, a board co-ordinator, a communications and policy officer, an administrative assistant and six review board officers.
Yes. To request a review in another language, please call 1 877 228-2557. An interpreter will call you back shortly and you will be connected with an intake officer in a three-way telephone call. This translation service is provided free of charge. Translation services are available in over 130 languages, including Farsi, Punjabi, German, Chinese (Mandarin) and French.