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College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan

Regulating MDs:  The Complaint Process, Discipline,
and Screening for Fitness to Practice

Criminal Record Check & Vulnerable Sector Screening

All medical students at the University of Saskatchewan must submit to criminal record checks before starting school. There are two requirements: A criminal record check, and a vulnerable sector screening that details any complaints made against caregivers working with children, seniors or disabled people.

Medical students deal with patients during their first year of study. They also do electives across the country and occasionally abroad. The screening aims to protect any patient the student interacts with in a clinical setting.

The director of admissions of the U of S medical school, Dr. Barry Ziola, said: While not a foolproof measure, the formal record checks should help prevent some cases of patient abuse. We're trying to get students to think about the obligation of being good citizens. If we can get that instilled in our students early, I think the probability of abuse occurring years later will be lower.

Ziola cautioned: The two checks for medical students can only reveal background, not prevent good doctors from going bad. We're dealing with humans here. We can't guarantee that just because you pass a check this summer you won't do something criminal tomorrow. A criminal past, though, doesn't always mean exclusion from medical school. If a medical school applicant has a criminal record, the application automatically goes to a committee for review. The review panel will look at the seriousness of the crime, rehabilitation, and age of the student since conviction. Ziola said: It's a case-by-case. This is not one set of rules fitting everybody.

Source:  Criminal Record Check Required for Med Students

Health Record Privacy and Amendment

Provincial and Federal Legislation

PIPEDA Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act
This privacy law covers private-sector commercial organizations, including medical clinics and physicians in private practice.
Privacy Act Privacy Act
This privacy law relates to an individual's right to access and correct personal information the Government of Canada holds about them.
HIPA Health Information Protection Act
This legislation, locally enacted by each province, governs the trustees of health records.

The federal PIPEDA law governs private-sector organizations engaged in commercial activities across Canada. It sets down clear rules for how these organizations may collect, use, or disclose personal information, and guarantees concrete avenues for amending flawed information. PIPEDA applies to medical clinics and physicians in private practice.

Some provinces have HIPA legislation that, on inspection, is deemed substantially similar to the health-records subset of PIPEDA.  An organization that operates solely within such a province will be exempt from PIPEDA, unless the personal information crosses provincial or national borders.

But more than half the provinces and territories have HIPA legislation which is not substantially similar to PIPEDA. In such provinces, an application to PIPEDA may succeed.

Saskatchewan is a non-compliant province – its local HIPA legislation offers inept protection for health records, and reveals less respect for patients, than the more farsighted PIPEDA. Compliance oversight belongs to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

Georgena S. Sil
Saskatoon, Canada
Physicist & Technical Writer
Alumnus: University of British Columbia

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Foucault Pendulum

Foucault Pendulum

San Diego Natural History Museum

Thou pendulum betwixt a smile and tear,
Ages and realms are crowded in this span.

Lord Byron

Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage


Two centuries ago, the old country doctor carried all his tools in a black satchel and all pertinent knowledge in his head.

In the days before antisepsis, he would perform surgery on a man's gangrenous toe, cut an umbilical cord after childbirth and then go on to carve the bowl of his pipe, all using the same scalpel, wiped on his frock-coat between procedures.

This doctor chose his profession out of scientific interest, yet his social status was so low he was not considered a suitable guest at Sunday tea.

As medicine became cleaner and invested with hope, so rose the prestige and income of doctors. The pendulum swung heavy and far.

Today, physician expectations of wealth have nearly bankrupted medicare and — worse — have corrupted the reason some choose the profession.

The pendulum has spanned two extremes. The public now wants it centered.

Copyright © 2008-2019 Georgena Sil. All Rights Reserved.