SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3M226659
Module Leader Alison Britton
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Law
  • B (January start)

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. PRME-related issues: the very nature of this module and indeed, incorporated into its title is the word ethics. The student of health care law considers the application and intersection of law and ethics relating to the practice of medicine and all allied health care specialisms. This interrelation does not always sit easily which makes it all the more challenging for the practitioner and fascinating and thought provoking for the student. The subject matter and scope of this module transcends legal boundaries and therefore makes it an attractive option for students from all jurisdictions and nations. There are no prerequisites.


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, the 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. PRME Learning Outcome: the specific outcomes include here present the student with diverse opportuntites to explore and evaluate ethical issues and to develop a critical aware towards their resolution.

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 and seminars. Students are required to satisfy the 35% minimum mark in each element of the coursework and the examination. Feedback strategy: Prior to submitting coursework, students are invited to seek assistance and advice from the module leader. Each piece of coursework will be returned to the student with a personalised feedback sheet. Verbal feedback will also be provided to the class in lecture. The students are invited to approach the module leader for additional feedback if required. Prior to the exam, revision of the syllabus is provided. Following the exam, generic feedback is provided on GCU Learn and should student require further detail or support, they are encouraged to contact the module leader and bespoke feedback will be provided. Internationalisation: The delivery of this module will set Scots, UK and EU law as appropriate in an international context. Feedback will be provided to students as follows: 1. Students will be provided with feedback within three weeks of submission of all summative assessments providing information on strengths, weaknesses and suggestions for corrective action to be applied in future submissions. The tutor will also provide generic feedback at the seminars where coursework will be handed back. Students may also discuss any points with their lecturer or tutor. 2. The virtual learning environment site will be used to feedback overall performance by students on all summative assessments highlighting overall strengths and weaknesses. 3. Discussion boards will be used to encourage teacher and peer-to-peer dialogue on certain topic areas where this form of communication would be regarded as effective. Student feedback on teaching, learning and assessment will be sought at the end of the semester through a module evaluation questionnaire GSBS will continue to use the advancement of GCU Learn as a blended learning tool through its teaching and learning as well as through engagement with students. GSBS will ensure that all modules are GCU Learn enabled and with the support of the Learning Technologists at the cutting edge of development of online materials. Academic staff and the Learning Technologists will continue to work together to develop and operate all modules on GCULearn to ensure student support and information sharing.

Indicative Reading

Books and articles: Essential Reading Laurie, Harmon and Porter; Mason and McCall-Smith's Law and Medical Ethics, (10 Ed. 2016) Oxford University Press <> Additional Reading: Herring, J. Medical Law and Ethics, (6th Ed. 2016) Oxford University Press <> Samanta J and A., Medical Law (2nd edition) 2015. Palgrave Law Masters <> Montgomery, J. Health Care Law, 3rd Ed July 2012 | ISBN-10: 0199274487 | ISBN-13: 978-0199274482 <> Brazier, M. Medicine, Patients and the Law, (6thd Ed. 2016) Manchester University Press <> Reference Reading: Kennedy, I. & Grubb, A. Medical Law, (3rd Ed. 2000) Butterworth's Online sources: there are so many to chooses form but some of the best include: British Medical Association <> The Lancet <> Medical Law Review <> Medscape <> Pub Med <> Websites Law related sites <> The Scottish Executive homepage with links to topics, publications and consultations. <> The Scottish Parliament homepage with links to Acts, Bills, committee business and debates. <> The Scottish Law Commission offers the Government independent advice on law reform. This often involves examining whole areas of law and making recommendations to improve them. Public consultation is an essential step in the process to ensure that these recommendations are both workable and acceptable. <> The Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) is responsible in government for upholding justice, rights and democracy. They provide for effective and accessible justice for all, to ensure the rights and responsibilities of the citizen, and to modernise the law and constitution. Healthcare related sites <> The UK Clinical Ethics Network provides information and support to both developing and existing clinical ethics committees within the health service. <> The Lancet is an international general medical journal that advances and illuminates medical science or practice. <> The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is a non-departmental Government body that regulates and inspects all UK clinics providing IVF, donor insemination or the storage of eggs, sperm or embryos. The HFEA also licenses and monitors all human embryo research being conducted in the UK. <> Probably the world's largest resource of original material on voluntary euthanasia, assisted suicide, self-deliverance, living wills (advance declarations to enable you to refuse unwanted life-prolonging treatment) and related death and dying subject matter. <> The Medical Law Review is established as an authoritative source of reference for academics, lawyers, legal and medical practitioners, law students and anyone interested in health care and the law. Primarily the Review presents articles of international interest which provide thorough analyses and comment on the wide range of topical issues that are fundamental to this expanding area of law. In addition it carries two commentary sections. The first concentrates on UK law and includes case reports and legislation summaries followed by analytical interpretation. They provide an invaluable resource for busy practitioners who need regular updates on the impact of new developments in medical law. The second section concentrates, in turn, on recent medico-legal developments in the USA, the Commonwealth, and Europe - keeping you in touch with worldwide legislation. The Review also carries book reviews of relevant publications. <> Medscape offers specialists, primary care physicians, and other health professionals the Web's most robust and integrated medical information and education tools. After a simple, one time, free registration, Medscape automatically delivers to you the specialty site that best fits your profile. You can also change your Medscape home page to any of our specialty and profession sites. <> PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine, includes over 15 million citations for biomedical articles back to the 1950's. These citations are from MEDLINE and additional life science journals. PubMed includes links to many sites providing full text articles and other related resources. <> News site that offers particular emphasis to healthcare issues.

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: 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 fortnightly 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
Independent Learning (FT) 124.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00
Assessment (FT) 40.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Essay n/a 40.00 35% Essay 1500 words.
Exam (Exams Office) 3.00 60.00 35% Tri B Exam period.