Professional Regulation & the Pandemic Response

Tracey L. Adams, Western University

In the spring and summer of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic strained both state and healthcare resources. To meet surging healthcare demands, many countries quickly implemented policies to expand the availability of healthcare professionals and to ensure that the healthcare labour force was flexible enough to meet demand when and where COVID-19 cases spiked. While many countries adopted similar policy strategies, there is some evidence that what policies were implemented during the first wave, and how effective they were, differed cross-regionally. This project explores whether regulatory systems – which are quite different in Canada, the UK, and Australia – impacted countries’ regulatory responses to meet the demands of the pandemic. In addition, it examines the role of profession-state relationships and collaboration in shaping the nature and success of the pandemic response. Preliminary findings highlight the importance of state-profession relations. In countries where profession-state collaboration was high and effective, like Australia, the pandemic response has been more co-ordinated and effective. In contrast, in the United Kingdom where professionals, scientists and government leaders were not on the same page, the response has been controversial and less effective. Canada lies somewhere in the middle in both co-ordination and outcome, with important differences evident across province. Implications for theories of professional regulation are considered.

Co-investigators: Kaitlin Wannamker, Western University

Funding Agency: SSHRC

Research Status: Research is ongoing and preparing to present/publish

Contact: Tracey L. Adams

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