The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta has dramatically reduced its backlog of complaints.

After a spike in complaints lodged against Alberta doctors in 2010, the governing body was saddled with an ever-growing list of open files. To deal with the pressure, the college took an unusual step.

"We went out to the community of physicians and said, 'We need people to help us investigate these complaints,'" said Kelly Eby, spokesperson for the college. "We got people who were interested and then we trained them to do the real basic complaints."

More than 70 Alberta doctors, most of them family physicians, signed on to help out.

Together, they cut the number of open complaint files by 65 per cent in two years. 

That should translate to shorter waits for Albertans looking to have complaints about doctors investigated and resolved, Eby said.