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CMPA takes aim at disruptive behaviour by MDs

With disruptive behaviour by physicians now accounting for 5% of all cases coming before Canada's medical regulatory bodies, the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) is advising physician leaders about their role in curbing such conduct.

"The growing sentiment in the health care community is that disruptive actions by doctors and other providers have never been acceptable, and collectively the community needs to eliminate this conduct," CMPA CEO Dr. John Gray said in August as the association published a discussion paper on the topic.

The paper, The role of physician leaders in addressing physician disruptive behaviour in health care institutions, was released during an information session at the CMPA's annual meeting, held in Calgary Aug. 21.

The Health Quality Council of Alberta recently described disruptive behaviour this way: "Personal conduct (words, actions, or inactions) beyond that normally accepted as respectful interpersonal behaviour, which disturbs the work environment and/or potentially poses a risk to delivery of safe and quality health care."

The CMPA report says the number of members seeking its advice regarding disruptive behaviour complaints before colleges and hospitals is rising, as are the associated medico-legal costs.

"The majority of these cases had an unfavourable outcome for the physician," the report warns.

"Every effort should be made to address it when it happens," adds Gray.

The report and related presentations are now available online.

Forward any comments about this article to: cmanews@cma.ca.