"Patient Safety, Law Policy and Practice"

25 May 2011

Patient Safety, Law Policy and Practice

Pippa Bark’s book, co-edited with John Tingle, a lawyer from Nottingham, has just been published by Routledge. (Link: Amazon)

Patient safety is an issue which in recent years has grown to prominence in a number of countries’ political and health service agendas and the World Health Organisation has launched the World Alliance for Patient Safety. Millions of patients, according to the Alliance, endure prolonged ill-health, disability and death caused by unreliable practices, services, and poor health care environments. There is no doubt therefore that this is an essential area, and the book is the extent to which policy is making things better. It asks whether legal systems are being used in appropriate ways to support state and local managerial systems in developing patient safety procedures, and what alternative approaches can and should be utilised.

The chapters in this collection explore the patient safety managerial structures that exist in countries where there is a developed patient safety infrastructure and culture. The legal structures of these countries are explored and related to major in-country patient safety issues such as consent to treatment protocols and guidelines, complaint handling, adverse incident reporting systems, and civil litigation systems, in order to draw comparisons and conclusions on patient safety. One of Pippa’s areas of interest is the psychological impact errors have on staff and patients, and she has focused on the impact policy has had in addressing the human suffering that can result in her own chapter (Link: Psychological aspects of patient safety).

Whilst it is early days in book sales, the publishers have expressed interest in a follow up book and John and Pippa are working on a parallel book on patient safety in the developing countries.

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