Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario

Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario

=The Organization=

The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, more commonly known as RCDSO, was established on March 4th, 1868 by Ontario Statute. The RCDSO is the governing body of dentists in Ontario and protects the public's right to quality dental healthcare.

As per the [ RCDSO website] , its mission is to protect the public’s right to quality dental services by providing leadership to the dental profession in self-regulation. The College believes that self-regulation must be open, responsive, accessible, equitable, and accountable to bring about safe, effective, and ethical dental care in Ontario. Trust between the public and dental care providers is the key. The public trusts dentists to set and monitor their own professional standards. In return, dentists must give their patients high-quality dental care.

The College, as a statutory body, is one of 21 regulatory health colleges in Ontario for health-care professions such as physicians, pharmacists, and nurses. The Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA), the Dentistry Act and other provincial laws provide the legal framework for RCDSO to carry out regulation of the dental profession to protect the public interest. This responsibility is regarded and upheld very seriously.

The College exercises its independent powers "in the public interest", believing that it has a duty to demonstrate this, and to encourage public confidence in the regulatory framework.

("The following information is taken from the RCDSO website")

Protecting the Public

The College's Role

Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) is responsible for regulating the practice of dentists under provincial legislation called the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA). This means the College makes sure that certain standards and guidelines are in place, and that dentists registered with the College practise according to those standards and guidelines. All dentists who practise in Ontario must be registered with the College.

As the regulatory college for dentists, one of the RCDSO's important responsibilities is to address concerns about the conduct or practice of dentists. The RCDSO has been given legal powers by the provincial government to investigate any complaint received, whether it is from a member of the public, co-workers, or other health-care professionals. These powers cover dentists in all branches of dentistry, including general dentistry and speciality practice.

This is perhaps one of the most significant protections that consumers have under the RHPA. Every complaint that is received by the College is thoroughly and objectively investigated. Every complaint received is carefully adjudicated. The formal process for investigation of a complaint is outlined in the legislation, in which, each step of the process is designed to ensure fairness to both the person filing the complaint and the dentist who is named in the complaint. The College plays a neutral role in order to provide reasonable assurance to the public, the government, other health-care professions, and to the dental profession that dentists in Ontario practise safely and competently.

All information received, produced or requested by the College in the course of investigating and resolving a concern or complaint is treated in a sensitive manner. Under the RHPA, the College, the governing Council, all Committees, and staff are bound by obligations to manage all information and materials with the greatest respect for privacy and security, according to provincial and federal privacy legislation (Personal Health Information Protection Act and Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, respectively). All data banks, files, mailings, and discussions are managed with this in mind.

Complaints Process

There are a number of options available to the Committee under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA).
* Take no further action if the dentist’s conduct and/or actions meet reasonable and acceptable standards of practice or if there is insufficient information for the Committee to take action.
* Require the dentist to appear to be cautioned about his/her practice or conduct. The Committee will discuss its concerns with the dentist and make suggestions that it believes the dentist must take to avoid future difficulties.
* Provide guidance to the dentist on how to improve his/her practice. For example, sometimes the dentist will enter into an agreement with the College to undertake remedial educational programs or upgrading.
* Refer the dentist to the Executive Committee for investigation of possible mental or physical health concerns that might interfere with the dentist’s ability to practice.
* Refer the matter to the Discipline Committee to hear specified allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence.

Disciplinary Process

The Discipline Committee of the College is responsible for determining allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence referred to it by the Complaints Committee, Executive Committee or Health Professions Appeal and Review Board. The Discipline Committee hears evidence regarding the case. If it finds the dentist guilty of professional misconduct or incompetence, it may impose a penalty that can include:
* revoking or suspending the dentist's right to practise in Ontario;
* imposing terms, conditions, and limitations on the dentist's certificate of registration;
* reprimanding the dentist;
* requiring the dentist to pay a fine to the government of Ontario.

A discipline hearing is conducted in a formal judicial setting in the College hearing room, with the College and the dentist each represented by legal counsel. The College has an obligation to give full and timely disclosure of all matters that are relevant, including materials helpful to the dentist in question. There is no reciprocal duty on the member.

Evidence is presented under oath and witnesses are subject to examination and cross-examination. Hearings are open to the public unless a panel of the Discipline Committee orders otherwise.

Appeals from decisions of the Discipline Committee are dealt with by the courts.

A summary of the findings of the Discipline Committee panels is published in the College magazine, Dispatch, as soon as possible after a hearing has been concluded and the appeal period has elapsed. Members of the profession are urged to read these reports as they are published.

Registrar's Investigation

Another process exists so that the College can investigate information not specifically categorized as a formal complaint. If there are reasonable grounds to believe a dentist has committed an act of professional misconduct, or is incompetent, the Registrar, with the approval of the Executive Committee, may initiate an investigation of the matter.

After the investigation has taken place, the Executive Committee may consider the matter and decide what action is to be taken, including a referral to the Discipline Committee if warranted.

Public Register

The College is required by law to maintain an official register of all its members. The College can also provide you with the business address of any dentist, and let you know of any conditions or restrictions affecting the dentist’s ability to practice. You can contact the College to confirm if a dentist to registered to practise in Ontario.

Quality Assurance

All health-care regulatory colleges under the provincial Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) must develop, establish, and maintain:
* standards of practice to assure quality of practice of the profession;
* programs to promote continuing competence among the members.

Goals of the Quality Assurance Program

The overall goals of the RCDSO Quality Assurance Program (QAP) are:
* to maintain and improve the quality of the practice of dentistry in Ontario;
* to ensure that the public continues to receive appropriate and effective dental health-care services;
* to encourage the provision of these services in a safe, competent and ethical manner.

Components of the Quality Assurance Program

Components include:
* development of practice guidelines/standards of care;
* mandatory continuing dental education;
* quality assessment;
* remediation of behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature by a members toward a patient.

Code of Ethics

The Code outlines in broad fashion the duties and responsibilities which members of the dental profession are expected to adhere to in their relationships with the public, their patients, and with their fellow practitioners. The paramount responsibility of a dentist is to the health and well-being of patients.
#Be truthful, obey the law, and provide care with respect for human rights and dignity and without discrimination.
#Commit to the highest level of professionalism by maintaining current competency.
#Respect the right of patients to be cared for by the dentist of their choice.
#Provide timely and competent care that is consistent with the standards of the profession.
#Provide unbiased explanation of options with associated risks and costs, and obtain consent before proceeding with investigations or treatment.
#Recognize limitations and refer patients to others more qualified when appropriate.
#Make the well-being of patients the primary consideration when making referrals to other health-care workers.
#Never overstate or embellish qualifications including advertising or speech that could mislead a reasonable person.
#Maintain a safe and healthy office environment for both patients and staff.
#Accept responsibility for the care provided by authorized dental personnel.
#Only provide compromised or unconventional treatment with full disclosure and consent of patients.
#Only make evaluative remarks about the work of others after making reasonable efforts to understand the prior treatment history of patients.
#Maintain appropriate and dignified boundaries in the patient/dentist relationship.
#Protect the confidentiality of the personal and health information of patients.

The above material was current as of June 2006, per the [ RCDSO website] .

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