Even though this concerns our Canadian friends to the north, I thought this was interesting; hopefully you will, too.
According to news reports, Ontario has recently passed a law which will provide increased oversight over plastic surgery as well as other invasive procedures that normally take place outside the walls of a hospital.
David Caplan, Ontario’s Health Minister, has reportedly received unanimous support for the bill, #141, which gives CPSO (the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario)more powers and authority to investigate if a surgeon is competent to perform medical and surgical procedures. Caplan said he believes that with this bill in place, the colleges will have a better ability to protect patients.
While numerous considerations went into creating Bill 141, especially significant were high profile incidents such as the one in which Krista Stryland, a Toronto realtor, died after her 2007 liposuction treatment. These incidents have raised concerns about how well and effectively patients are monitored following their surgery when the procedure takes place beyond a traditional hospital setting.
Even though Bill 141 passed on April 23, it will be a few months before it starts having an effect; the provincial government must put some additional regulations into effect before the bill takes full force.
According to CPSO spokeswoman Kathryn Clarke, her organiztion is already working alongside the Ministry of Health to develop regulations which motivate health colleges to diligently observe the practices of their members.
Clarke says they’re working at full force right now, hoping that very soon, they’ll have this added authority.
Now that you know the background, here is my take on the legislation. First, I always get a bit nervous when the government starts trying to get involved in controlling a doctor’s private practice. Doing so tends to hinder the doctor’s effectiveness more than it helps.
However, I understand the reasoning for the increased regulation. Most of the plastic-surgeon quacks that you read about in the newspaper doing some bizarre stung operate outside of a traditional hospital setting. Incidentally, I do too, so don’t misunderstand. Most plastic surgeons who operate from a private center are good doctors and quite reputable.
However, as with almost anything else, it’s the few bad apples that cause new rules and new laws to have to be created. And if legislation like this serves to drive the quacks out of business, or at least make it harder for them to abuse their profession, then this is a positive thing.