Unit 1: Law, Policy and Ethical Practice in Health and Social Care
Unit 1: Law, Policy and Ethical Practice in Health and Social Care
Health and social care practitioners are regulated by, and must adhere to, a range of law and policy when working within the most common settings of health trusts, primary care and other public authority settings. Even those working in voluntary, non-profit and private organisations will require a sound understanding of law and policy in order to practice proficiently, safely, ethically and legally. This unit develops students’ knowledge and appreciation of the need for them to be thoroughly informed about relevant law and policy. Further to this, the unit presents opportunities for students to apply relevant law and policy in practice settings, both actual and realistic, and to consider the place of codes of practice and ethics in their day-to-day work.
By the end of this unit students will be able to:
1 Explore the legal framework within which health and social care practitioners operate
2 Describe key legislation, national and organisational policy of fundamental importance to the health, care or support service practitioner
3 Interpret the law in relation to key ethical and professional Practice Themes in health and social care
4 Apply law and policy in line with regulatory and ethical requirements in a relevant practice setting.
LO1 Explore the legal framework within which health and social care practitioners operate
Key political concepts and theories that impact on legal frameworks Creation of law through statute – how a bill becomes law Law of precedent – historical perspectives Brief history of the reform of law Taking in to account changes as a result of: demography, e.g. migration patterns technology, e.g. advent of digital technologies in record-keeping values and rights, e.g. women’s right to vote, female genital mutilation national emergencies, e.g. emerging diseases and conditions. Legal framework The role of the legislature (Parliaments and Assemblies), Executive (e.g.
Cabinet Government, Local Authorities and Health and Social Care Trusts) and the judiciary (courts and tribunals)
Introduction to case law and the role of the courts Differences between civil law and criminal law Legal responsibility and liability, e.g. vicarious liability and negligence. Tutors should deliver with reference to the legal framework as
currently applicable in own home nation Ethics and ethical practice Relationship of ethics to law Conduct and consent generally Regulatory and Professional Bodies’ Standards of Conduct, Performance, Ethics and Occupational Proficiency, International Occupational Standards and Codes of Ethics. Key features of, and differences between legislation, statutory guidance, codes of practice, and national and organisational policy Enforceability Ease of reading and application Relevance to health and social care practice Currency Process to amend and update Country-specific examples of each of the above
LO2 Describe key legislation, national and organisational policy of fundamental importance to the health, care or support service practitioner
Introduction to key legislation (at the time of publication): Health and Safety Safeguarding and/or Protection Equality and human rights Structure and function of health and social care National policies Health, social care and community support policies situated on the country-specific government policy page Procedure for determining national policy Effects, enforcement and sanctions of national policy Organisational policies Organisational policy usually located on public domain website of relevant health, care or support service provider Principles of organisational policy development, subordination to national policy and law, subject to judicial supervision, principles of natural justice, etc. Examples of common organisational policies, equality, confidentiality, health and safety, conduct, lone working, disciplinary and grievance, etc.
LO3 Interpret the law in relation to key ethical and professional Practice
Themes in health and social care Key Practice Themes Health, Safety and Safeguarding Valuing and Promoting Diversity, Difference and Inclusion Promoting Physical and Mental Health, and Emotional Wellbeing Overview of Practice Themes as related in national and international law and impact on specific groups Common law protections, the rule of law, residual liberties Universal human rights instruments, ‘claim rights’ and the accompanying duties and responsibilities: e.g. Human Rights Act (1998) and relationship to the European Convention on Human Rights (1950) Relevant human rights, e.g. the right to life, prohibition against inhumane and degrading treatment, right to privacy and family life, prohibition of discrimination Review of key features of national legislation identified in LO2 in relation to safeguarding and protecting users of health, care and support services Country-specific safeguarding and protection legislation Review of key features of national legislation identified in LO2 in relation to health and safety in the workplace Country-specific health and/or safety legislation Review of aspects of national legislation identified in LO2 in relation to promoting physical and mental health, and emotional wellbeing Country-specific legislation related to health and social care practitioners’ responsibilities in this regard Equality legislation protecting the rights of specific individuals or groups e.g. United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2008), UN Convention on the Rights of a Child (1989), UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (2001), protected characteristics, prohibited acts, other current country-specific equality legislation. Aspects of Codes of practice interpreting the law Responsibilities and duties (of health, social care and support service practitioners) Adopting a holistic approach to promoting an individual’s overall wellbeing
e.g in the UK, as per the principles of the Care Act 2014 Being competent (professional and informed), demonstrating nondiscriminatory, ethical, effective and safe practice that enhances individuals’ well being Maintaining confidentiality, data protection principles, sharing information, statutory overrides Links between legal frameworks and demonstrating professional values, attitudes and behaviour Ensuring currency and compliance by keeping up-to-date with codes of practice and other practice requirements including Continuing Professional Development and training Fitness to practice referrals and proceedings
LO4 Apply law and policy in line with regulatory and ethical requirements in a relevant practice setting
Regulatory and ethical requirements Professional practice regulators/regulation, e.g. EU Professional Qualifications
Directive (2005/36/EC), in the UK, Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Codes of Professional Practice and Ethics Regulators of service providers Impact of a lack of regard for regulatory and ethical requirements, e.g. unwarranted variation Relevant practice setting In hospital: statutory and independent sector health services, in or out-patient services. Close to home or at home: nursing homes other assisted and supported living services community health or social care setting, e.g. mental health crisis housing public health service information, advice and support services domiciliary care services Charitable end of life or health and wellbeing support services other health and social care services provided in own nation
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