A critique of ethics committees
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© Lifeworks 2012
Ethics committees and the exercise of power
'Who minds the minders?'
Here is a substantive article I have written about the problematic operation of professional ethics committees. Although they are ostensibly there to protect clients/the public from harmful actions of professionals, in the end it can be asked whether they do more harm than good.
The fundamental problem is such ethics committees do not always act in ways which could be understood to be ethical. Most of the time this is through incompetence, poor procedures, and lack of understanding of due process.
Sometimes other factors are at work: complete unawareness of the impact of their use of power (often the very thing they are examining in the professionals brought before them); various unspoken agendas, axes to grind, personal unfinished business and even vendettas, serious conflict of interests, and using the process as a way to get rid of someone whom they don't like.
Such committees operate with very little oversight, and can hold a person's job or professional standing in their hands. There are many stories of abuses of power, extremely poor process, and damaging effects of such procedures.
You can find the article here
If you have some experiences of the excesses of licensing boards, ethics committees, or other regulatory bodies, or know directly of cases, please get in touch as such case examples are valuable for me to be able to use in writing further about this subject. The distortions, abuse of power, and lack of natural justice in the organisations overseeing professional health care workers is an under represented topic, and needs to be put forward.