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For Immediate Release


Dec. 8, 2008

Ministry of Health Services




VICTORIA – Health Services Minister George Abbott today announced the appointment of a chair and 17 board members to the Health Professions Review Board (HPRB), which will have the power to review the timeliness and outcome of health regulatory college decisions.


“Each appointee brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his or her new role in ensuring the highest levels of accountability and transparency in B.C.’s health professions,” said Abbott. “Today we are delivering upon our throne speech commitment to establish a Health Professions Review Board that will ensure that health workers are able to appeal college decisions around credentialing and licensure restrictions.”


The HPRB will begin receiving applications for review in March 2009. Members will work under the leadership of newly appointed chair J. Thomas English to review decisions of health profession colleges in individual cases of registration refusal and dissatisfaction with how the colleges handle complaints from the public about college registrants. 


“The 18 members of this board come from a variety of backgrounds and represent every region of this province,” said English. “We look forward to the opportunity to work together in providing British Columbians with an independent and impartial health professions review process.”


The Province will provide the HPRB with an initial $220,000 in start-up and operational funding. Subsequent operational funding is estimated to be $1.4 million per year.


All appointments to the HRPB are part-time, with the chair eligible to serve an initial term of three to five years and board members appointed for an initial term of two to four years. Both the chair and board members may be reappointed for additional terms at the discretion of the cabinet.


There are currently 15 self-regulated health profession colleges in British Columbia that are covered under the Health Professions Act and whose decisions may be reviewed by the HPRB starting in March 2009. These are the colleges for: dental hygienists; dental technicians; denturists; dietitians; licensed practical nurses; massage therapists; midwives; naturopathic physicians; occupational therapists; opticians; physical therapists; psychologists; registered nurses (including nurse practitioners); registered psychiatric nurses; traditional Chinese medicine practitioners; and, acupuncturists.


The creation of the HPRB stems from the Health Professions (Regulatory Reform) Amendment Act, 2008, passed by government last May, which made significant changes to the Health Professions Act.  The Province is currently working to bring additional professions under the Health Professions Act and it is anticipated that by the late spring of 2009, the HPRB will also be able to review college decisions relating to chiropractors, dentists, medical practitioners, optometrists and pharmacists.


British Columbia is the second province, after Ontario, to establish an independent health professions review body.




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Bernadette Murphy

Media Relations Manager

Ministry of Health Services

250 952-1887 (media line)

250 213-9590 (cell)


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