Regulating professional practice

Authored by: Ian Freckelton , Belinda Bennett

Routledge Handbook of Medical Law and Ethics

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415628181
eBook ISBN: 9780203796184
Adobe ISBN: 9781134448654


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Professional regulation of medical practitioners has undergone substantial change in recent decades. While medicine has traditionally been a self-regulating profession, calls for greater oversight of professional practice have encouraged new regulatory models. Using examples from the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, this chapter analyses recent trends in the regulation of medical practice, charting the move from professional self-regulation through to contemporary models of oversight and accountability. The introduction of more rigorous requirements for assessing professional competency – including new requirements for recertification, revalidation, performance, health and the character of practitioners in addition to traditional conduct-based assessments – has been a key feature of the move to contemporary regulatory frameworks. Further developments have also introduced measures to regulate unregistered health practitioners, and to avoid the potential adverse impacts of a ‘brain drain’ that recruiting international health personnel might have on health systems in poorer countries.

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