Saskatoon

Health care expert calls Prince Albert nurse crackdown 'overzealous prosecution'

The case of a Prince Albert nurse facing discipline after speaking out about quality of care has one health care expert questioning the legitimacy of industry self-regulation.

Steven Lewis questions legitimacy of self-regulation

Health policy expert Steven Lewis is questioning the role of industry self-regulation. (Matt Rourke/The Associated Press)

The case of a Prince Albert nurse facing discipline after speaking out about quality of care has one health care expert questioning the legitimacy of industry self-regulation.

Saskatoon-based health policy analyst Steven Lewis has taken a look at the case against Carolyn Strom, a nurse who spoke out on social media about the way her grandfather was treated at a palliative care home.

Is self-regulation an idea that has had its day?- Steven Lewis, policy analyst

"There seems to be an overzealous prosecution of one of their members for speaking up on issues that are of interest to the public, under the guise of damaging the profession," he said.

"I think the fundamental question is, in the end, is self-regulation an idea that has had its day?"

The main problem, as Lewis sees it, is that although the function of the health industry's self-regulation is to serve the public at large, the regulators themselves are elected by their membership.  

"I would say that there is always a risk of them acting in their own interest," he said.

Public warned to remain vigilant 

Lewis went on to suggest simple changes to restore credibility. For example, regulating bodies could invite more public participation. In addition, he said transparency in the disciplinary process would help.

"The more open it is, and the more people can actually see inside that black box, I think the chances for justice go up."
Health policy consultant Steven Lewis says the Saskatchewan government has been "justifiably hammered" for its handling of the COVID-19 second wave. (CBC)

Until changes are made, Lewis said the public will have to remain vigilant and understand that self-regulatory bodies may not be working in their best interest.

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