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Durham University

Policy, Professions and Communities Research Group

Profiles

Publication details for Professor Sarah Banks

Austin, Zubin, van der Gaag, Anna, Gallagher, Ann, Jago, Robert, Banks, Sarah, Lucas, Grace & Zasada, Magda (2018). Understanding Complaints to Regulators About Paramedics in the UK and Social Workers in England: Findings from a Multi-Method Study. Journal of Medical Regulation 104(3): 19-28.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Within the regulatory community, there has been increasing interest in the issue of proportionality in regulation — that is, using the right amount and right types of regulatory interventions to achieve the primary mandate of the regulatory community in order to serve and to protect. The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) in the United Kingdom, one of the largest health-care regulatory bodies in the world, recently commissioned a study examining the disproportionately large number of complaints against paramedics in the UK and social workers in England. The objective of the study was to examine the nature of, and to better understand the reasons behind, this disproportionality, and to identify options and opportunities from a regulatory perspective that could be taken to address this issue. The study involved a systematic multi-methods research approach involving four key interrelated research elements:

* A systematic literature review
* A Delphi consultation with international experts
* Interviews (n=26) and four focus groups (n=23) with UK experts, including service users and caregivers
* A review of a random sample (n=284) of fitness-to-practice cases over two years across the three stages of the process (initial complaint, Investigating Committee Panel, and final hearing)

Findings from this study highlight the evolving nature of both professions and the influence of a binary model of complaints adjudication that may not be sufficiently nuanced to balance public protection with practitioners' learning needs. A non-binary option for understanding complaints against practitioners is suggested in this paper, offering a process that involves and engages both employers and practitioners in a more meaningful manner.