Alami: “Submitting disciplinary complaints must be exclusive with inspection”

Complaints in disciplinary law are largely to the detriment of patients and relatives, and that must change. This is the opinion of Assistant Professor of Health Law, Carissa Paul.

Despite its powers, the Health Care and Youth Inspectorate brings few disciplinary cases. Thus complaints in disciplinary law are largely to the detriment of individuals such as patients and relatives.

That must change, one of the conclusions that health law professor Carissa Ball drew on her thesis. Ball has considered all disciplinary provisions the Inspector has been the complainant to, since the introduction of the BIG Act.

Its analysis shows that the inspectorate is making little use of its rights to file complaints or take over from a complainant, and to demand urgent action and appeal.

Nevertheless, complaints from the inspection body are usually well publicized, with strict measures being imposed regularly (such as reprimand, suspension, and denial). In contrast, complaints from individual complainants are often dismissed as inadmissible or unfounded.

On the one hand, the disciplinary court receives many complaints which can be better dealt with in the right of complaint, while on the other hand, serious problems are often excluded from the picture.

Because the disciplinary law aims to improve the quality of care (not to allow individual complainants to get their way through), and because individual complainants can now recourse to the right to file a complaint, Paul suggests amending the disciplinary code. According to it, it should be investigated whether submitting disciplinary complaints is entirely the responsibility of the inspectorate.

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Carissa Paul. Health Care Legal Discipline Act. A contrasting quality tool. Radboud University, Nijmegen, April 2021.

Note: Since 2019, patients or relatives who are considering the matter with a complaint about a nurse or doctor can now go to the disciplinary court first. In conversation with a special disciplinary complaints officer to see if the complaint is appropriate for disciplinary law.

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