Health Complaints and Practitioner Regulation: Justice, Protection or Prevention?
Griffith Law Review, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 65-88, 2017
36 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2017 Last revised: 26 Aug 2017
Date Written: July 19, 2017
This article reviews the objectives pursued by health complaints entities (HCEs), how they mesh with bodies concerned with the regulation of health practitioners, and how these functions map against those of administrative review and theories of consumer accountability. We show that HCEs pursue multiple and diverse objectives shared by ‘hybrid’ institutions dealing with complex ‘polycentric’ disputes or dynamic circumstances, constituting one part of a network or meta-regulatory web of regulatory and grievance agencies. We suggest that these health entities, which represent an atypical form of complaint handling (differing from administrative merits review) have associated trade-offs between objectives and overall system complexity that may have regulatory merit, but not be readily understood by health consumers. The article cautions that system-level perspectives (i.e. regulatory theory objectives) should not detract unduly from accountability and redress for individual complaints (complaints-resolution theory). We conclude that further empirical research is needed into: the balance between objectives of a complainant’s focus (justice), professional regulation (prevention) and public risk management (protection) and the optimal organisational linkages between complaints management and professional regulation.
Keywords: health complaints, complaint management, models of decision-making, review objectives
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation