Professional Power and the New Governance
This paper will consider the implications of developments in governance arrangements with health care on the professional autonomy and power of the medical profession in relation to other professionals and management within the English NHS. In particular it will focus on the growing interest and implementation of health care pathways and related governance arrangements. These involve the ‘knitting together’ of clinical pathways from a range of health professionals and in principle the patient too.
We will revisit the literature on professional power and its cognate concepts in order to assess the relevance and utility of these and drawing on a largely foucauldian informed approach will evaluate the current situation within the English health service. In particular the fluid and changing boundaries and relations between medicine and nursing, but will include consideration of IT specialists too. The latter’s inclusion is not as a competing jurisdiction but rather in their role of developing and implementing e-health systems of care pathways which programme in rules of professional autonomy and control.
The paper will draw on a research project on the implications of e-health systems for various health pathways and inter-professional power (Eason et al 2011; Dent and Tutt 2013).