The SAMRT is one of twenty-eight health care professions in Saskatchewan that the Ministry of Health has granted the privilege to self-regulate. Self-regulation recognizes the maturity of a profession and the knowledge, skills and judgement required of it’s members.
“The provincial government is responsible for regulating health professions in order to protect the public from potential harm resulting from the actions of incompetent or unethical practitioners. Rather than regulating the health professions directly, government delegates the responsibility for regulating each profession to regulatory bodies (college/association/society) because they have the appropriate expertise regarding the practice of their respective professions to enable them to determine the qualifications necessary for licensure of registrants and to apply disciplinary measures when necessary.
The privilege of self-regulation granted to professional regulatory bodies is not unconditional, because government remains responsible for ensuring that the regulatory body regulates its members in the public interest. Under Saskatchewan’s legislative framework, public accountability of regulated health professions is provided for in the following manner:
The SAMRT’s authority to govern comes from our act –The Medical Radiation Technologists Act, 2006 (the Act). Broadly speaking, there are two main powers: (1) the power to licence, and (2) the power to discipline. This authority is stipulated in the Act and further defined through Regulatory Bylaws.
Professional regulatory bodies are required by law to protect and promote the public interest by (1) regulating the practice of the profession—to minimize and mitigate the risks to the public that may arise from the practice of the profession, (2) defining criteria for registration, licensing and certification of members, (3) providing guidance to members in the form of codes of ethics, rules of professional conduct and standards of practice, (4) maintaining a public register which contains detailed information about registered members with the professional regulatory body, and (5) investigating complaints and disciplining members, where appropriate (Schultze 2010).
Each regulated profession has a governing council elected by the membership as well as government-appointed public representatives. The council acts on behalf of the organization and is responsible for applying the legislation. Every member of council has the responsibility to regulate in the public interest rather than the interest of the profession.
Registration and licensure with the regulatory body is mandatory for all medical radiation technologists (MRTs), and provides the MRT with protection of title. No person other than a member can use the prescribed title. Members in turn are obligated to ensure they have the competence – defined as “the necessary knowledge, skills and judgement to perform safely, effectively and ethically and to apply that knowledge, skill and judgement to ensure the safe, effective and ethical outcomes for the patient.”2
It is the duty of the SAMRT to serve and protect the public and, as a self-regulated profession, we must investigate any complaints. The SAMRT takes all complaints seriously and manages each complaint through an objective and confidential process to ensure fairness to all involved. The Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) and the Discipline Committee are statutory committees established by the Act. Professional incompetence and professional misconduct are defined in the Act, along with the roles and responsibilities of these two committees. The PCC is responsible for reviewing, investigating and reporting on complaints or concerns received by the SAMRT regarding the conduct or competence of members. Where a report of the professional conduct committee recommends that the discipline committee hear and determine a formal complaint, a formal hearing process is entered into under the guidance of legal counsel.
Public accountability is an important component of self-regulation for the medical radiation technology profession. The SAMRT operates in a transparent and accountable manner. Results of discipline hearings are posted on the SAMRT website and are available for public access. We communicate with our members, government, key stakeholders and the public about what we do and how our work protects patients and the public. The SAMRT contracts with a chartered professional accounting firm to complete an annual audit of our finances. The financial report, along with reports from the SAMRT committees, are provided as an Annual Report to the Ministry of Health, and are also published on our website for public access.
1 Saskatchewan Ministry of Health
2 Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT)
All medical radiation technologists are required to meet SAMRT’s standards of the profession in order to practice in Saskatchewan. The standards of practice represent the expected level of performance for members in the delivery of respectful, efficient, effective, safe and ethical care to patients.
The SAMRT, with the assistance of practising MRTs, managers and faculty members, has developed a Code of Ethics which provides information and guidance on other professional practice iss