The College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia has 30 days to brush up on its accountability to the public following the release of a performance inquiry report.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said Thursday he accepted the inquiry’s 21 recommendations to ensure the college, which registers, certifies and regulates B.C.’s dentists and dental assistants, acts in the public’s best interests.
“We have almost two dozen recommendations which we expect the college to implement that will improve regulation of dentistry, of dental surgeons in B.C., and to put the public first,” he said.
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“This is not just a message for dental surgeons but a message for all the professions and all the colleges.”
Dix said there are 20 health professional colleges in B.C., with 116,988 members.
The College of Dental Surgeons of B.C. could not be immediately reached for comment about the report.
Harry Cayton, a regulatory administrative expert, was appointed to conduct the inquiry and concluded the dental college was meeting 17 of 28 international standards for good governance.
“They only pass around 60 per cent of the standards of good regulation, and although that is not a disaster, it’s a serious flaw,” Cayton told a news conference. “They can rescue themselves from that, but they need to do work.”
Cayton’s inquiry recommended the college improve its internal data collection and performance management. He also recommended it improve its system of governance by ensuring any dentist currently facing a complaint investigation should step down from a college board or committee until the issue is resolved in their favour.
His report says the college board and its committees are more focused on protecting the interests of dentists instead of the public and the college has not been effective in ensuring the safety of patients.
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“It is my conclusion that the board of the college has not always in the past put fully into effect its role in ensuring the safety of dental patients and in protecting the public,” says the report. “Some dentists both on the board and on college committees continue to believe that the college should protect dentists.”
Dix launched the review into the administrative and operational practices of the college in March 2018.
He said an all-party committee was also appointed to examine plans to modernize the regulatory framework for all of B.C.’s health professions.