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Medical Negligence. 4th edition

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posted by Phillip Taylor alias Phillip Taylor MBE on Wednesday 25th of March 2009 07:58:57 PM

‘MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE’ EMOTIVE AND EXPANDING A review by Phillip Taylor MBE ‘People are getting more litigious’ is at least one inference you can draw from any number of contemporary legal texts, particularly those that deal with the vexed subject of medical negligence, which of course is the simple but all-encompassing title of this book by Michael Jones whom many students will know from his works on Tort. Certainly the area of medical negligence has expanded. When the opening edition was published in 1991, it was the first really complete and definitive examination of this difficult area of law. Then as now, it was directed primarily at legal practitioners, “though, I would hope,” says Jones “that it would also make the law of medical negligence accessible to non-lawyers.” I think lawyer and layman alike would agree that in this aim, the author has amply succeeded here. The book “is primarily concerned with the tort of negligence applied in the specific context of the provision of health care” and Jones adds that he has sought to deal with all aspects of professional liability which may arise out of medical treatment. With the advent of the ground-breaking first edition, Jones points out that although the book – in line with the subject matter – has expanded in length, the table of cases alone being over 80 pages long! It maintains the same basic structure which will be familiar to practitioners who, over the past decade and a half, have depended on this reliable, exhaustive and eminently readable guide to this complex subject. Since the last or third edition was published five years ago, there have been further changes in the legal landscape. First, there has been the NHS Redress Act 2006. However, Jones points out that ‘there is still no detail available to flesh out the bones of the bare structure of the scheme established by the Act’. The author also refers to the changes that have taken place in mental health legislation, namely the statutory reforms incorporated in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Mental Health Act 2007 which makes some significant changes to the Mental Health Act 1983. ‘not least’ as the author mentions ‘in abolishing the various categories of mental disorder, amending the rules on ECT treatment and introducing a new regime of treatment for “community patients”. These, and other emerging issues, are thoroughly dealt with, including specific areas such as consent to medical treatment, defective products, confidentiality and the liability of hospitals. Also covered are defences and limitation periods and of course, current case law and applicable legislation. The work includes an excellent glossary of medical terms and the text of Pre-action Protocol for the Resolution of Clinical Disputes; also the text of the NHS Indemnity Arrangements for Clinical Negligence Claims in the NHS. And – to keep you completely up to date, there is a bi–annual supplement which covers the latest developments in the law. If you specialise in this area of law, remember that ‘Medical Negligence’ is frequently cited in court and is regarded as the most authoritative work in this field which is clearly still emotive and expanding.

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