Essentials of Law for Health Professionals, 3d ed.
Article Type: Book review
Subject: Books (Book reviews)
Author: Diesfeld, Kate
Pub Date: 07/01/2010
Publication: Name: New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy Publisher: New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists ISSN: 0303-7193
Issue: Date: July, 2010 Source Volume: 38 Source Issue: 2
Topic: NamedWork: Essentials of Law for Health Professionals, 3d ed. (Nonfiction work)
Persons: Reviewee: Forrester, K.; Griffiths, D.
Accession Number: 263992606
Full Text: Essentials of Law for Health Professionals (3rd ed.) Forrester, K. and Griffiths, D. 2010 Mosby Elsevier. ISBN978-0-7295-3915-9. Softcover. p. 386.$69.00 NZD

Increasingly, health professionals are aware that a working knowledge of relevant law is essential for best practice and peace of mind. Ideally the law is used preventively, to avert disputes through education. Essentials of Law for Health Professionals has great potential to achieve this goal by addressing legal issues that may arise in practice in Australia. Undoubtedly, it is welcomed by health professionals, educators and health administrators. While the content is not specific to physiotherapists, it is certainly relevant to them.

The text is structured in 5 sections: introduction to law for health professionals; legal concepts for health professionals; life and death issues; and working within the law. Designed for students of health studies, each chapter usefully lists learning objectives, review questions and activities that guide discussion. The case law summaries, tables of comparative legislation, and guides to further reading (including websites) are very informative. (Additional resources for case law, legislation and journal articles in Australia is www. austlii.edu.au and in New Zealand is www.nzlii.org).

Rather than simply focusing on patient disputes, the book offers legal information on a broad range of issues that health professionals may encounter, from management of health information to employment contracts. Of equal importance to professionals in training, it is affordable. Publication of a concise but comprehensive legal textbook for non-lawyers is an ambitious task, given Australia's 6 states and 3 mainland territories. The authors reported that they "attempted to state the law as it currently exists in many Australian jurisdictions". Rather than relying on the text as a comprehensive manual of health law in all jurisdictions, it may be advisable for educators to supplement the text with additional legal information that is relevant to their jurisdictions.

As nurses with advanced degrees in law and doctorates, Forrester and Griffiths are expertly positioned to publish this third edition. The authors adopt simple English to explain the relevance of the law in a practical fashion. While less relevant to foreign audiences, the book is a valuable resource for international comparisons. The authors have admirably translated the complex discipline of health law for practitioners. As a result, this publication will greatly benefit health professionals and those they serve.

NB: An error was detected in the case summary regarding professional discipline of a New Zealand nurse, Lesley Martin. Subsequent to the events reported in the book at p. 232, the Professional Conduct Committee appealed the decision of the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal to the High Court. The appeal was allowed. The tribunal's orders were reversed and the nurse's registration was indeed cancelled: Professional Conduct Committee v Martin (High Court, Wellington, CIV-2006-485-1461, 27 February 2007.

Associate Professor Kate Diesfeld, B.A., J.D, The University of Waikato

Te Whare Wananga o Waikato

School of Law

Private Bag 3105, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2010 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.