The following are summaries of some recent decisions of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee, reflecting three different dispositions. They are provided for educational purposes. Information in these summaries has been altered to protect the privacy of both members and complainants, and to protect the confidentiality of the investigation process. The relevant substance of the allegations and outcomes remain unchanged.
Adequacy of File Review: Decision – Take No Further Action
The member was asked by a private insurer to review the complainant’s file and to provide comment on the treatment plan. The review did not include an interview or assessment of the complainant. The complainant alleged that it was inappropriate for the member to have relied on third-party information without having met with them.
The panel of the ICRC considering this matter noted that the member appeared comprehensive in their review of both the file and other health professionals’ recommendations. The member offered comments that were reasonable and based upon the information available. The panel therefore decided to Take No Further Action with respect to the complaint.
Differing Opinions: Decision: Advice
The complainant alleged that a member made unsubstantiated findings with respect to their diagnoses, and that these findings were inconsistent with the findings of another psychologist. In addition, the complainant indicated that the member inappropriately undermined the other psychologist’s opinion by writing in the report that the other psychologist’s work was misguided and erroneous, and that the other psychologist was not qualified to conduct the assessment.
The panel of the ICRC considering this matter noted that it is not uncommon for professionals to disagree about diagnoses. The panel however, decided it would appropriate and in the public interest to provide the member with Advice regarding the importance of being respectful when commenting upon an opinion that might differ from one’s own. In particular, the panel noted that it may have been more prudent and professional to indicate, in an objective and neutral manner, the data-based reasons for any difference of opinion rather than dismissing another psychologist’s qualifications. The panel also emphasized the importance of being cognizant of how such comments could be perceived by the client and others reading a report.
Timeliness of Report: Decision: Undertaking
The member assessed an adolescent over a period of three weeks. The adolescent’s parents and a number of other health practitioners requested a copy of the assessment report several times over the next twelve months, but the assessment was not forthcoming. The member provided the family with the report after a complaint had been filed with the College.
The panel of the ICRC considering this matter had concerns about the risks such a delay can create for the adolescent seeking services, as well as how it may impact the view the public may form of the profession. The panel was also concerned that there did not appear to be any reason documented, or provided to the ICRC, for this delay. The panel therefore decided it would be appropriate and in the public interest for the member to enter into an Undertaking with the College to assist the member in identifying practice issues causing delay, and to implement procedures to address those issue.