Community Care Practice and the Law.
Article Type: Book review
Subject: Books (Book reviews)
Author: Thorneycroft, Simon
Pub Date: 10/01/2011
Publication: Name: British Journal of Occupational Therapy Publisher: College of Occupational Therapists Ltd. Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 College of Occupational Therapists Ltd. ISSN: 0308-0226
Issue: Date: Oct, 2011 Source Volume: 74 Source Issue: 10
Topic: NamedWork: Community Care Practice and the Law, 4th ed (Nonfiction work)
Persons: Reviewee: Mandelstam, Michael
Accession Number: 271053268
Full Text: COMMUNITY CARE PRACTICE AND THE LAW, 4th ed. Michael Mandelstam. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2009. 45.00 [pounds sterling]. 640 pp. ISBN 978-1-84310-691-3

I enjoyed this book. Running to 600 pages, this is not a book you are likely to want to read all in one go. It is, however, quite interestingly written, and after you have first read the chapters most relevant to your work you may find, as I did, that you want to read the rest of the book.

Mandelstam refers to a lament from the court of appeal stating that 'community care legislation is dismayingly complex and labyrinthine in nature and in some respects obscure'. In this book he attempts to bring some clarity to it.

The book covers a broad range of legislation, but does not print the detail of each piece of legislation as Mandelstam says that detail can be looked up on the internet with ease. Instead, he gives short descriptions of the main principles and requirements, and then discusses the important points and how various pieces of legislation interact with each other. This could all be a little dry, but he illustrates the way the legislation is being used in practice by detailing examples of judicial case law and ombudsman investigations.

The examples of case law given in the book tend to relate more to social services and local government rather than to the health service. The book explains that this is because the NHS act 'confers virtually no individual enforceable rights on patients'. For this reason the book might be slightly more interesting for social services occupational therapists than for NHS occupational therapists.

The book includes some criticisms of social care practice; for example, it describes individualised budgets as having been introduced 'with no legislation, definitive guidance or parliamentary debate', questions if the occupational therapy code of practice should contain the exclusion 'if this does not threaten the occupational therapists' employment status', and wonders if 'giving people choice and control is sometimes equated with abandoning them'. These criticisms may not always be comfortable to read, but they do make the book more interesting.

Simon Thorneycroft, Occupational Therapist, Staffordshire Social Services.
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.