Most clients are incredibly satisfied with the care provided by their midwives. Where they are not, most concerns can be resolved effectively through direct discussion between the midwife and their client; or more formally through a practice’s client complaint processes. If a client has a complaint about the care they received from a registered midwife that cannot be resolved with the midwife or practice itself, they have the right to file a complaint with midwives’ regulatory body, the College of Midwives of Ontario (CMO).
Over the course of their careers, regulated health-care professionals may be involved in a complaint to their regulatory body (e.g., CMO) if other formal or informal resolution has not been successful. These may be initiated by clients, other health-care professionals, or the college itself if it has reason to believe an investigation is warranted.
The process is the same for all Ontario regulated health professionals, including nurses, physicians, and midwives. The CMO describes its complaint process as follows:
- After receiving a client complaint, the CMO will send the client a “confirmation of issues form” and a consent form for the release of information to the college.
- The CMO will notify the midwife of the complaint and they will have 30 days to provide a written response to the complaint. HIROC-insured midwives are eligible for legal counsel to respond to a CMO complaint and should notify HIROC by filing out an incident report.
- A panel of the CMO’s Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee (ICRC), comprised of midwife and public members, will review the complaint. They may ask for more information or appoint an investigator.
- When all relevant information has been gathered, a panel of the ICRC will decide what to do. This could include taking no action, administering a “caution” to the midwife, requiring the midwife to complete a Specified Continuing Education or Remediation Program (SCERP) (e.g., required courses, practice protocols), or refer the matter to another college committee (e.g., Discipline Committee, Fitness to Practice).
The CMPA has a number of suggestions for physicians about coping with the stress of college complaints, which are equally relevant to midwives. However, instead of contacting the CMPA for assistance, midwives can contact the AOM Quality and Risk Management team through AOM On Call.