College of Physicians and Surgeons Takes Action Against Doctors Found Guilty of Sexual Abuse
The CPSO Gets Heavy When Patients Are Sexually Abused By Doctors
In May 2017, the Ontario Legislature enacted Bill 87, the Protecting Patients Act, 2017 that includes, among other things, mandatory revocation of doctors' licenses and interim suspensions, for those found to have sexually abused patients.
The CPSO has started taking serious action against it members who are found 'guilty' of sexual abuse, in the regulatory sense. Doctors have lost their licenses, and have had interim suspensions imposed during investigations. Patients have benefited from this swift action.
One such case involved Dr. William Beairsto. Another current case involves Dr. Nigel Phipps. Sexual abuse as defined by Bill 87 is intolerable, and the community at large supports this position. The CPSO's action are finally beginning to reflect the community standard.
However, even today the CPSO does not always report findings of sexual abuse by its members to the police. How can they justify this failure to report? Surely privacy law cannot be used to justify the failure to report? Aren't community safety and to a lesser degree general deterrence, paramount?
As always, competing interests inform the application of various laws. In this case, patient privacy and community safety would seem to be at odds.
image: (BERNARD WEIL / TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO)