Physicians/Medical Students with Blood-borne Viral Infections
The Council of the College has approved in principle an amended policy to address physicians and medical students with blood-borne viral infections (BBVI). This amended policy was drafted following an initial round of stakeholder consultation, and reflects a modified approach that is more reflective of privacy law and human rights principles. The Council has also approved in principle a proposed amendment to Bylaw 24.1, “Reporting of Blood-borne Viral Infections.”
The Council directed that the proposed amended policy and bylaw be widely circulated to physicians, health care organizations and the public to seek feedback on the documents and the proposed new approach to addressing physicians/medical students with BBVI.
The College Council recognized that its current policy “Hepatitis B/C/HIV-Infected Physicians/Medical Students and Physician/Medical Students with AIDS” and Bylaw 24.1 “Reporting of Blood Borne Infections” were outdated and did not accurately reflect the reporting and monitoring process that is currently followed. In addition, it recognized that the current obligation to report is broader than is justifiable from a human rights and privacy law perspective, which resulted in the College obtaining information that was not necessary for it to perform its regulatory function and to protect the public.
In addition, there was a recognition that the monitoring of physicians/medical students with BBVI would more appropriately fall under the Physician Health Program (PHP) of the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA), rather than remain within the office of the College Registrar.
The Council Committee on Physician Health undertook preliminary consultation with various stakeholders and reviewed the policies adopted by other medical regulatory authorities. The Committee then drafted the amended policy and bylaw based on feedback received from other organizations, guidance obtained from the policy documents adopted by other medical regulatory authorities, and from Council as a whole.
One of the primary changes in the proposed policy and bylaw is that expectations are broken down into three distinct areas: 1) expectations applicable to all physicians, 2) expectations applicable to all physicians who perform exposure prone procedures (EPPs), and 3) expectations applicable to all seropositive physicians who perform EPPs.
If the amended policy and bylaw are adopted, there will need to be an appropriate transition to the new reporting expectations and monitoring procedures. The Council anticipates that this transition will be established collaboratively by the College’s Expert Advisory Committee (EAC) and the PHP Committee.
The Council anticipates that it will consider feedback from stakeholders, including members of the profession, at its meeting on September 25, 2020. The Council would like to hear from you! If you have concerns with the proposed changes, it would be helpful if you explain the reasons for those concerns, as well as any other suggested approach.
How to Respond
In order for the College to consider feedback and correlate feedback for the Council in time for the next Council meeting, all feedback should be provided to the College no later than September 1, 2020.
Please complete the linked
survey. Alternatively, feedback can be
provided to firstname.lastname@example.org.