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Filing a Complaint

If you have a concern about the care you received from your doctor let us know

The College of Physicians and Surgeons takes complaints about Nova Scotian physicians very seriously. The College’s authority regarding what it can investigate and how it can investigate complaints is legislated by the Medical Act.

The College responds to concerns and investigates complaints about the care people receive from Nova Scotian physicians. We have a responsibility to support safe practice and patient safety by responding to concerns raised when a complaint is filed.

If you are unhappy with your current primary care physician, you may decide to remove yourself from their patient roster.  You should notify the physician in writing. You are not required to file a College complaint to be placed on the registry, but you do need to formally notify your physician of your decision. You can then contact 811 to be placed on the Nova Scotia Health Need a Family Practice Registry

  • physicians and surgeons;
  • podiatrists; and
  • physician assistants.
  • mistakes in your care;
  • incorrect diagnosis;
  • delayed follow-ups or referrals;
  • mismanaging a patient’s personal health information; and
  • prescribing errors.
  • unprofessional interactions with other members of the care team;
  • concerns regarding poor communication with patients; and
  • difficulties with the clinic that have impacted your care.
  • sexual comments or gestures;
  • improper physical examinations; and
  • sexual relationships between physicians and patients.

The College’s Professional Standards and Guidelines Regarding Sexual Misconduct by Physicians articulates the expectations and obligations of physicians. 

We do not have the authority to investigate complaints about other health care professionals

  • nurses;
  • dentists; and
  • psychologists.

A complete list of medical regulatory colleges in Nova Scotia responsible for investigating complaints concerning other regulated health professionals can be found here.

Healthcare system

  • concerns about lengthy waiting times for procedures or consultations;
  • surgery cancellations;
  • difficulty finding a family doctor;
  • dissatisfaction with the service or care you received at a primary health clinic; and
  • public health and COVID-19 measures.

Issues we cannot address include

  • getting you a referral or a prescription;
  • making changes to your health records;
  • directing your care or treatment plan;
  • awarding financial damages, compensation, or refunds; and
  • intervening in custody disputes, insurance claim denials, or medical-legal matters.

Before you file a complaint

Step 1

Before you file a complaint, we encourage you to:

  • Consider speaking with the physician or their staff
    Some people find that bringing their concerns to their doctor may resolve the issue. However, if you are not comfortable doing this or you aren’t satisfied with the outcome, you can always contact us.
  • Find the best place to report your concern
    We will be happy to advise you if the College has the authority to investigate. We can also guide you on whether another organization might be better equipped to assist you.

Step 2

Watch the short video below (3:49 in length). It provides important information on filing a complaint and if the College can help address your concern.

Once you review the video a link to the complaint forms will be provided. 

If you are unable to watch the video or have any questions, you may contact the College’s public support advisor and discuss your concern. 

Please watch video before you file a complaint

Video duration: 3 minutes 49 seconds

Thank you for watching our video. Before filing a complaint you may find it helpful to review our Frequently Asked Questions.

If you have further questions please contact us.

Call: 902.421.2201
Go to online form
Please watch the above video to activate the link to the complaint form
Download PDF Form
Please watch the above video to activate the link to the complaint form

Confidentiality of Your Complaint

The College has a statutory obligation to maintain the confidentiality of all information gathered during the investigation and resolution of complaints.

We are required to notify the registrant of the complaint

Complaints are not anonymous. We are required by law to notify the physician named in the complaint and to provide them with a copy.

Filing a complaint against your doctor may risk your physician-patient relationship. This relationship is based on trust and confidence, and filing a complaint may cause either you or the doctor to feel that the relationship has broken down. As a result, your doctor may dismiss you as a patient when they are notified of the complaint. If so, they are required to follow the steps outlined in the College’s standard regarding Ending the Physician-Patient Relationship.

You are required to keep information provided to you by the College confidential. This includes the physician’s response to your complaint. Confidentiality is expected to be maintained when discussing the complaint with others such as friends and family.

The Medical Act directs the College to publish all disciplinary decisions unless a publication ban is in place. Published decisions do not disclose the identity of the person who filed the complaint or the names of patients involved in the complaint.

You may wish to review more information about what happens after you file a complaint.

If at any time you have questions about your complaint please contact the College’s Public Support Advisor at 902.421.2201.