How do I know if my concern justifies a complaint?
Ask yourself the following questions:
a. Was the person whose practice is questionable a regulated member or previously regulated member at the time of the incident(s)? The SAMRT provides a Public Register that lists all regulated members.
How long does the complaint process take?
The investigation can take up to three to six months. Depending on the complexity and the action taken, the whole process can take up to a year.
How does the SAMRT act on a complaint?
Within 30 days of receiving your complaint, SAMRT will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your complaint. At the same time, the complaint is forwarded to the SAMRT Professional Conduct Committee (“PCC”) to be reviewed and investigated.
What actions might the PCC undertake?
If the PCC considers that the conduct likely does constitute professional misconduct (section 24 of the Act) and/or professional incompetence (section 23 of the Act), then the MRT’s conduct must be addressed to ensure public safety. Section 26 of The Medical Radiation Technologists Act, 2006 (Act) specifies the that “On completion of its investigation, the professional conduct committee shall make a written report to the discipline committee recommending:
(a) that the discipline committee hear and determine the formal complaint set out in the written report; or
(b) that no further action be taken with respect to the matter under investigation because:
(i) the matter has been resolved with the consent of the complainant and the member who is the subject of the investigation; or
(ii) in the opinion of the professional conduct committee, no further action is warranted on the facts of the case.”
What happens if the complaint is referred to the Discipline Committee for a hearing? If a matter goes to hearing, a Notice of Hearing will be posted on the SAMRT website. At the hearing, the PCC acts as the prosecutor and the MRT is entitled to appear and defend their self. Both the PCC and the MRT are entitled to call witnesses to provide evidence about the MRT’s conduct. The lawyer for the PCC may ask the complainant to provide evidence at the hearing about what happened. The MRT (or his or her lawyer) may cross-examine the complainant. The Discipline Committee acts as the judge and makes a determination as to whether or not the conduct complained of constitutes professional misconduct and/or professional incompetence as defined in the Act and, if it does, what consequence should be imposed as a result.
Can I appeal the decision?
Yes, under the Act, section 35(1) states A member may appeal a decision or any order of the discipline committee to the council by serving the registrar with a notice of appeal within 30 days after the decision or order.
Section 36 also provides that a member whose conduct is the subject of an order of the council pursuant to section 35 may appeal that order to a judge of the court within 30 days after the date of the order of the council.
As a member, what do I need to know if I have a complaint filed against me?
Some of the most common complaints are for:
• Unprofessional conduct towards a patient – communication or procedure issues
• Alcohol or drug abuse while on the job
• Privacy breaches – accessing files you have no right to access
• Not following protocols and procedures
• Hindering patient safety
• Not complying with the Continuing Competence Program
• Incompetence or not reaching the standards of the employer
• Violation of scope and standards of practice
If a complaint is filed against me, do I need a lawyer?
The SAMRT encourages you to get a lawyer if you feel like you need one during this process.
Can I resign if a complaint against me is filed?
If you choose to change your status with the SAMRT to a non-practicing or resign, a complaint can still be filed against you for up to two years.
As a member, what implications does a complaint have on me?
Once you have a complaint filed against you that is not dismissed, your record of good standing is tarnished and should the SAMRT receive an inquiry from any member of the public regarding your complaint history, we can disclose that a complaint was filed and addressed. Should we receive an inquiry from another regulatory body regarding your complaint history, or should we become aware that you are seeking registration with another regulatory body within the next five years, we can disclose that a complaint was filed and addressed. If your complaint goes to the Discipline Committee for a hearing, the complaint, notice of hearing and decision of the Discipline Committee is posted to the SAMRT website.
What is the employer obligation if they terminate a member for cause?
Section 43 of The Medical Technologist Act, 2006 requires that “Any employer who terminates for cause the employment of a member shall report the termination to the association where the employer reasonably believes the cause is professional incompetence or professional misconduct.”
The SAMRT Recommends the following:
1. Ensure that persons they employ as MRT are members who are entitled to practice; and
2. Review the license status of their MRT employees annually to ensure their practicing licenses are renewed.