CAF Member health services complaints

You can best resolve complaints about your Canadian Forces Health Services (CFHS) medical or dental care at the lowest possible level.

If you do not have a formal complaint, use the Patient Care Feedback Tool (PCFT) to provide feedback on your experience with CFHS services.

  • Local level complaint

    Your first line of contact for a health services complaint is at the local level.

    Speak with your Care Delivery Unit’s (CDU) primary care nurse (PCN) to find out about the medical complaint process.

    Learn about the dental care complaint process by contacting the dental clerk at your local unit.

    Submission methods currently in place across CFHS clinics may include: handwritten forms, emails sent to a positional inbox (patient feedback), and emails directly to the Base Surgeon or Dental Detachment Commander. 

  • National level complaint (CFHS Reviews and Investigations Program)

    If you wish to make a national level complaint, it should concern:

    • dissatisfaction with the conclusions and recommendations of a local level investigation;
    • the Base or Wing Surgeon, Primary Care Nurse, or Dental Detachment Commander named in the complaint; and/or
    • Director of Medical Policy (D Med Pol) involvement with a potential release from the CAF,

    For more information, contact the National Manager of Health Services Reviews & Investigations (NM H Svcs R&I), Dr. Ian Paquette through e-mail at Ian.Paquette@forces.gc.ca.

    CFHS Reviews and Investigations Program

    The CFHS Reviews and Investigations Program (CFHS R&I) performs Quality of Care reviews on systemic health care issues. They may recommend improvements to CAF health care delivery both domestically and abroad. CFHS R&I also provides opinions, conclusions, and recommendations to resolve health care complaints. 

    The program also reviews universality of service decisions made by Director Medical Policy (D Med Pol) and Director Military Careers Administration (DMCA). As a result of these reviews,  CFHS R&I may provide a second opinion when members believe they have been wrongfully assigned or that they should have been granted a medical release. 

  • Professional Conduct complaint

    All clinicians at CFHS facilities are licensed with provincial or territorial colleges.

    If you have a complaint about clinician conduct, malpractice, competency, harassment or abuse, contact the appropriate provincial or territorial licensing authority. These authorities regulate the provision of health and dental care according to expected standards of practice and conduct.

    You can obtain medical or dental authority contact information by consulting one of the following two web sites:

  • Patient Safety Incident Reporting

    The CFHS Patient Safety Programis a reporting mechanism for use by health care professionals as well as patients. The intent of this process is to provide a mechanism for both patients and providers to report a patient safety incident. A patient safety incident is an unintended incident where a patient could have been harmed or was harmed while receiving care within the CAF.

    The DND 850 - CF H Svcs Gp - Patient Safety Incident Report is the form utilized to report these incidents. A patient complaint can be submitted in parallel to a DND 850; however, the two investigations remain separate with no interaction between analysts. It is suggested that when a patient safety concern is identified by a patient that the patient should contact their Care Delivery Primary Care Nurse.

    Data collected through patient safety and patient complaint analyses is used to review health care related systemic errors in order to develop recommendations to prevent similar incidents in the future. These processes ensure that CFHS continues to provide safe and evidenced-based patient partnered medical and dental care.

  • Grievances

    While members have the statutory right to submit a grievance, this may not always be the most efficient way to address a health care complaint. The grievance process addresses past decisions, whereas the health care complaint process will address and resolve issues that members currently face at their local health care units.

    Grievance related to Spectrum of Care

    When denied treatments or medications involve the Spectrum of Care, you may submit a grievance according to the Defence Administrative Orders and Directives (DAOD) 2017-1, Military Grievance Process using a  Digital Grievance Form. Do not share your personal health information with individuals outside the circle of care.

    Other mechanisms

    Submissions to other organizations can delay the review and analysis of the complaint. In turn, this may create additional communication barriers between the CAF member making a complaint and the CFHS complaint analyst.

    There is also a risk of sharing personal health information with individuals outside the health care circle who do not have the same confidentiality rules.

    The grievance process is formal and complex. It usually deals with broader systemic problems rather than individual health care complaints. The only exception to this is when the Spectrum of Care is involved.

  • How we can help

    If exceptional reasons prevent you from addressing any concerns through regular channels, such as time sensitivity, health, security, or financial concerns, you or any member of your family can contact our office by telephone or in writing. In cases where compelling reasons exist, our office can ensure that all relevant parties know about your circumstances. 

  • Resources for CFHS clinicians

    Base and Wing Surgeons seeking guidance may contact the National Manager of Health Services Reviews & Investigations (NM H Svcs R&I), Dr. Ian Paquette, through e-mail at Ian.Paquette@forces.gc.ca.

  • Related links

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