Outcomes - Selected Case Summaries



Delays in healthcare facilities license

Investigation | 20 December 2021
Health Practice Commissioner (HPC) , Ministry of Health

A representative of a local medical services company made a formal complaint in which he alleged maladministration against both the HPC and the MH in their actions regarding the licensing of his company. The complaint was two-fold: first, that there had been an issue of non-response to a complaint filed with the MH and, second, that a decision on the company’s healthcare facilities license had been unduly delayed in deliberations before the HPC. Non-response and/or unreasonably delayed response may be considered maladministration under the Complaints (Maladministration) Act (2018 Revision) (“the Act”)

We were not successful in attempting to resolve these issues informally, and we opened a formal investigation. This was a lengthy and complex investigation which involved the review of hundreds of pages of correspondence provided by the complainant and responses from the MH/HPC. The correspondence covered a period of roughly eight years, between 2013 and 2021. We reviewed more than 100 emails between the parties dating from about June 2019 to March 2021, and details of several FOI requests made by the complainant, with an eye toward determining which questions were being handled under FOI and which remained outstanding.

The investigation determined that a number of questions submitted by the complainant had not been answered and that a formal complaint to the Ministry went unanswered during the entire process. The investigation further determined that the delay of a pending decision of the company’s healthcare facilities license was caused by factors in addition to due diligence requirements of the HPC. Concerns about certain services the company was seeking to offer had been ongoing since 2013, with members of the HPC seemingly coming to different conclusions in different years about whether the company should receive its healthcare facilities license. In total, the delay of the decision of the company’s license lasted for more than a year.

The Ombudsman found maladministration in form of delay and non-response occurred in this case and recommended the following remedial actions:

  • That the ministry substantively responds to the formal complaint within 30 days.
  • That both the HPC and the Ministry of Health develop and publish a written policy for complaints.
  • That the HPC adopt a policy on due diligence requirements for healthcare facilities applications, potentially including a timeline within which such decisions should be made and how applicants may be consulted/informed of these decisions.
  • That the HPC update policies/guidelines for meeting minutes identifying the minimum documentation required, a description of the action item before the HPC, a brief summary of the relevant discussion around the item, any action taken on the item (including deferral).

 Our office will continue to monitor the implementation of these recommendations.