Health Professionals Regulation, Self-Regulation, Nova Scotia Regulated Health Professionals Network, Voluntary Legislative Processes
To shift health professions regulation from traditional to ‘collaborative’ self-regulation, Nova Scotia has adopted legislation which will: make all self-regulating health professions members of the Regulated Health Professions Network; mandate the Network to facilitate voluntary collaboration among its members; and enable regulators to work together on investigations of patient complaints, to adjust scopes of practice on an ongoing basis and to adjudicate appeals of unsuccessful applicants for registration. The goals are to give health professions regulation the capacity to enable and support the functioning of interprofessional teams. The legislation was adopted primarily for two reasons: collaborative development and unanimous support by all of the province’s self-regulating professions; and alignment with the government’s health care reform agenda and its emphasis on collaborative team-based care. Contrary to the approach of several other provinces, the legislation will enable but not require regulators to collaborate on the premise that consensual collaboration is more likely to happen, to be meaningful and to yield tangible benefits. Support for this approach can be taken from the impressive collaborative work on which the legislation is based. Evaluation will be critical, and the five-year review required by the legislation will give Nova Scotia the opportunity to test not only the legislation but the ideas on which it is based. The extent of the legislation’s reliance on voluntary process will prove to be either its greatest strength or its greatest weakness.
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William Lahey, "Legislating Interprofessional Regulatory Collaboration in Nova Scotia" (2013) 1:1 Health L Observer 4.