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Patient Concerns

Policy Statement

We consider the resolution of patient/family concerns to be an important component of Sunnybrook's comprehensive Quality & Patient Safety Program. Most importantly, the resolution of any conflicts that arise between the patient/family and the care team are vital to the successful delivery of patient-centered care.


We consider it the responsibility of every Sunnybrook staff member to be attentive to the concerns of patients/residents, their families, and visitors, and to resolve concerns at the unit/department level as soon as they are identified. (See Concerns Process Flow Chart - 47kb PDF file)

  1. Matters of concern should be referred to the Office of the Patient Experience by phone, written letter or in person when:
    • Conflicts and concerns cannot be resolved at the unit/department level
    • Arms length facilitation is required
    • A patient/resident/family requests involvement from the Office of the Patient Experience
    • Written or verbal concerns will be initially acknowledged, either by the Office of the President & CEO, Executive Vice President (if addressed to either) or the Office of the Patient Experience. The information will be logged and a file opened.
  2. Relevant stakeholders will review the issue and arrive at a resolution. Other strategies for achieving resolution may be utilized as appropriate, including external review of the concern by an independent source. The relevant Program & Medical Directors, Division/Department Heads and Executive Vice Presidents will be copied as appropriate, on all correspondence.
  3. Written or verbal follow-up and demonstration of corrective action, if appropriate, is required for all concerns. This response will come one of the following as determined in consultation with the relevant parties:
    • The Manager
    • Attending Physician Head
    • Director
    • Executive Vice President of the area involved 
    • Office of the Patient Experience,
  4. Monthly reports and trending information are prepared and compiled by the Office of the Patient Experience, and will be disseminated to appropriate stakeholders in order to assist the Hospital in its quality improvement initiatives.
  5. All concerns are responded to in a timely manner, appropriate to the magnitude of the problem. The following are suggested timelines for investigation and response to concerns:
    • Calls placed to the Office of the Patient Experience are returned within 24 business hours.
    • Letters of acknowledgement are sent out within 48 hours of receipt of written correspondence.
    • An uncomplicated issue should be responded to within 3-5 business days of receipt of the concern. 
    • The investigation of a more complex case should be completed and a response offered within 4 weeks of receipt of the concern. In instance where cases require lengthy investigation and problem solving, regular communication (e.g. bi-weekly verbal updates) should take place with the complainant.
  6. The Office of the Patient Experience is available during business hours, Monday to Friday, with the exception of statutory holidays. After hours, concerns can be left on the Office of the Patient Experience voice mail at each campus. Written concerns lodged after hours may also be left at the appropriate campus office.

Contact the Office of the Patient Experience

Community Feedback

Help us improve accessibility at Sunnybrook by sharing your questions, concerns or comments about the way we are providing care and service in an accessible manner. Feedback will be handled in accordance with our Patient Concerns Policy.

Sunnybrook is committed to providing information in accessible formats upon request. We are also committed to facilitating accessible communication supports. Please contact us for more information.

Contact us

By email


By telephone

Bayview Campus: 416-480-4940
Holland Centre: 416-967-8566

By mail

Office of the Patient Experience
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Avenue
Room C161
Toronto, ON M4N 3M5