SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3M221649
Module Leader Alison Britton
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Law
  • B (January start)
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge


Summary of Content

This module is intended to provide a comprehensive analysis of the main issues in the field of law relating to healthcare and professions allied to health. Consideration of both the legal and ethical dimensions will be undertaken. Topics covered will include a consideration of clinical negligence, issues relating to consent and patient confidentiality. Ethical dilemmas will be explored concerning the issues at the beginning and end of life. Concepts of autonomy and rights will be interwoven throughout all of these topics.


History of Medical Ethics / Control of the Profession How is the healthcare system regulated? What is the role of the General Medical Council and ethical codes of practice? Introduction to the legal system for non-lawyers. Medical Negligence What is negligence? Duty of care, basis of liability. No-fault systems. Case law and trends in judicial thinking. Professional v. patient-centric tests. Consent Why is consent so important? How is informed consent determined and recorded? Is there a difference between consenting to and refusing treatment? Is it lawful to treat patients without their expressed consent? Minors, other vulnerable groups and proxies Research issues relating to HIV and other tests Access and Confidentiality The professional-patient relationship. The test of patient-public interest. Disclosure of information relating to HIV status. Management of Infertility and Childlessness Is the law is struggling to keep up with the scientific advances in this field? The effect and adequacy of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (1990). The use of embryos, stem cell research and saviour siblings. Genetics Background to human genetic research. Cloning - reproductive and therapeutic. Xenotransplantation and organ cloning. Abortion Historical background and legislative framework What are the main arguments for and against abortion? Alternative approaches in other countries. USA, Ireland, Holland. Mental health Autonomy and rights. Compulsory admission to hospital or involuntary treatment. Consideration of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act (2000) and other relevant legislation. End of Life Physician assisted suicide and euthanasia. Permanent vegetative state (PVS) and degenerative disorders. Enabling legislation and possible solutions (for example, advance directives). Death The medical and legal definitions of death. Ownership and commercial value in the human body, or its parts. The use of bodies for research.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module student should be able to:Generic outcomes:-Identify and retrieve up to date legal information using paper and electronic repositories; -use primary and secondary legal sources which are relevant to the topic under study and current at the point of assessment; -present knowledge and information using sources to support arguments and conclusions; -provide recognised methods of citation and reference.-Identify accurately and formulate clearly the legal issues to be researched; -undertake independent research (both paper-based and electronic) in areas of law which have not been previously studied, using paper and electronic repositories to research new topics without reference to a reading list.Specific outcomes:-demonstrate a knowledge and comprehension of the law relevant to healthcare professionals in the United Kingdom;-critically analyse and evaluate the ethical principles relating to dilemmas and problems between ethics and the law;-differentiate the approaches of the UK and other legal systems towards law and healthcare and comments on the merits and disadvantages;-appreciate and develop a critical and analytical awareness relating to contentious area of healthcare law and ethics.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The strategy involves a combination of lecturing on general topics, seminars requiring individual presentation, directed reading in recommended texts and independent study in preparation for seminars and lectures. Teaching will be a combination of lectures (3 hours per week, which comprise meetings of the whole group of students) and seminars (1 hour per week, which consolidates the preceding week's work). Students are required to satisfy the 35% minimum mark in each element of the coursework and the examination.

Indicative Reading

Essential Reading Mason, J. K. & Laurie. G. T. Mason and McCall-Smith's Law and Medical Ethics , (8 th Ed. 2011) Oxford University Press Additional Reading: Herring, J. Medical Law and Ethics, (3rd d Ed. 2010) Oxford University Press *Montgomery, J. Health Care Law , (2 nd , 2002) Oxford University Press (3 rd Edition due in 2012). Brazier, M and Cave E., Medicine, Patients and the Law , (5th d Ed. 2011) Penguin Books * a new edition of Montgomery is due out this year(2012) Reference Reading: Kennedy, I. & Grubb, A. Medical Law , (3rd Ed. 2000) Butterworths

Transferrable Skills

Analysis, Synthesis, Critical Judgement and Evaluation The ability to identify issues, assimilate, evaluate and analyse information to construct written or oral solutions to a problem by bringing together and integrating relevant information, and selecting key material, from a variety of different sources. The ability to present arguments for and against propositions, acknowledging ranking of sources and relative impact in context. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: preparation and participating in seminars, researched written essay and examination. Personal Management, Independence and Ability to Learn The ability to organise and prioritise effectively the expenditure of time and effort in the performance of all aspects of student work. The ability to learn effectively and be aware of their own learning strategies; to manage their own learning development and to reflect upon their learning, seeking and making use of feedback. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: Independent study, participation in weekly seminars, prepare summary for group seminar, researched essay and examination. Communication and Literacy The ability to communicate information, ideas, advice and choices in an effective and succinct manner and in plain English without losing focus on key issues. The ability to listen and question effectively, to give and receive feedback and to make presentations addressing an allocated topic within the prescribed time frame. The ability to communicate both orally and in writing (and, where appropriate, by the use of electronic means) using the English language accurately by creating work which is comprehensible to the intended audience. The ability to create documents which are analytical, descriptive and inquisitive using appropriate terminology and recognised methods of citation and reference. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: Oral participation and contribution in lectures, oral opinions expressed in lectures in lectures, researched essay and examination(both of which require students to identify and access primary and secondary source materials). Numeracy, Information, Technology and Teamwork Where relevant and as the basis for an argument, the ability to present and evaluate information provided in numerical or statistical form. The ability to produce and present in an appropriate form a word-processed essay or other appropriate format. The ability to conduct efficient searches of websites to locate relevant information; and exchange documents by E-mail. The ability to work productively and cooperatively in different kinds of groups; to establish working relations with others, defining, sharing and delegating responsibilities within the group. Such skills are developed within this module through the following activities: group participation online, weekly online seminars, contribution to online summaries. Retrieval of sources using electronic means. Responding to and discussing legal and ethical concepts.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Directed learning 25.00
Independent Learning (PT) 25.00
Assessment (PT) 28.00
Private study 80.00
Independent Learning (FT) 20.00
Lectures (PT) 42.00
Assessment (FT) 28.00
Seminars (FT) 11.00
Lectures (FT) 36.00
Private study 80.00
Directed learning 25.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 0.00 25.00 35% Essay: 1500 words
Coursework 0.00 20.00 35% Presentation: student led seminar content
Exam (Exams Office) 3.00 55.00 35% Unseen examination