Health care service concerns

Resolving concerns within Alberta's health system

Occasionally, patients or their family members have concerns or complaints about health services, treatment or how decisions are made. The first avenue is to address your concern directly with the service provider(s) or organization(s) involved.

Depending on the nature of your concern, you can also discuss it with other bodies, the professional association to which the health professional is a member, or Alberta’s Ombudsman. The list below provides contact information to help address your concerns or complaints, or provide you with confidential assistance.

Concerns about suspected criminal acts related to health-care services should be taken to the police. Concerns about injuries or disputes related to care in the health system may also be taken to the Courts.

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Areas of concern

1. Abuse

If you have a concern about possible abuse of an adult in the care of a hospital, nursing home, seniors’ lodge, group home, personal care home, shelter or day program, report this to the Protection for Persons in Care.

If it concerns the possible abuse or neglect of a child, report this to the Child Abuse Hotline.

If the incident involves a health care professional, report it directly to the governing regulatory body of the health care professional.


2. Alberta Blue Cross Drug Plan

For questions or concerns about the Alberta government-sponsored Alberta Blue Cross drug plan, contact Alberta Blue Cross


3. Alberta Health Advocates – Health, Mental Health, Seniors

The Office of the Alberta Health Advocates brings together Alberta’s Mental Health Patient Advocate and the Health Advocate and Seniors’ Advocate. It’s a place where Albertans can come to for advice and help in dealing with their issues. People will be helped to find their way to the services and patient concerns offices they need.


4. Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan

For questions or concerns about coverage under the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan, including: eligibility, registration, claims, use of card, change of address, etc., contact Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan.


5. Alberta’s health system

You may contact Alberta Health for any matter related to Alberta’s health system.


6. Ambulance services

For questions or concerns about care received in an ambulance, you should first discuss it with the ambulance operator. The next step is to contact Alberta Health Services EMS, which is responsible for the ambulance program. You may also contact the Registrar responsible for licensing ambulance operators.


7. Care in a hospital or nursing home

For questions or concerns about care, treatment and/or standards of accommodation received by a patient in a hospital or resident in a nursing home, contact the Alberta Health Services.


8. Communicable disease and other public health matters

For questions or concerns about communicable diseases, public health emergencies, environmental health or anything related to public health, contact the Medical Officer of Health.

If you have a question or concern about a decision or order by Alberta Health Services, Medical Officer of Health or public health inspector under the Public Health Act or its regulations, contact the Public Health Appeal Board at 780-427-2813 or email health.appealboard@gov.ab.ca.


9. Health information and privacy

For questions or concerns about accessing or correcting health information or personal information held by a caregiver or organization in Alberta’s health system, contact the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. You may also contact the Commissioner for concerns about inappropriate collection, use and disclosure or management of health or personal information.


10. Health professional conduct and competence

For questions or concerns about the care provided by a health professional, first discuss it with that health professional or their direct supervisor. If this doesn't resolve the matter, or if your concerns are about the health professional’s conduct or competence, contact the health profession's regulatory body.

Regulatory bodies ensure their members meet acceptable standards for competence and conduct, including ethical conduct. These regulatory bodies can also provide contact information for their members if you're having trouble finding a practitioner for services.


11. Mental health services

For questions or concerns relating to persons who are or were subject to a community treatment order or involuntarily detained under the Mental Health Act, contact the Mental Health Patient Advocate.


12. Out-of-country health services

For questions or concerns about receiving specialized health services that can't be obtained in Canada, contact Alberta’s Out-of-Country Health Services Committee 


13. Patient concerns about care received

For questions or concerns about care you received in a hospital, nursing home, non-hospital surgical facility or community program administered by, or under contract to, Alberta Health Services, there are a number of places to turn. Concerns should first be discussed with the member of the care team who is most closely involved in your care, such as the nurse or doctor.

If not resolved, contact the AHS Patient Relations Department which accepts all concerns and addresses or redirects people to other organizations authorized to address concerns.


14. Products, drugs and devices

For questions or concerns regarding the safety of products, including drugs and devices used or prescribed in the health system, contact Health Canada


15. Unexpected or unexplained deaths

For concerns relating to a death that occurred suddenly or cannot be explained, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner could conduct an investigation. All such deaths in Alberta are investigated under the authority of the Fatality Inquiries Act. Contact the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner


16. Unfair treatment – making a complaint 

For questions or concerns about the fairness of how a complaint was handled, contact the Alberta Ombudsman. The Alberta Ombudsman conducts independent investigations into written complaints from individuals who believe they have been treated unfairly.


17. Workers’ Compensation Board funded health services

For questions or concerns about health benefits for injuries sustained in the workplace, contact the Workers’ Compensation Board.