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Module NHS-3038:
Legal & Ethical Issues

Module Facts

Run by School of Health Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Organiser: Mr Richard Hughes

Overall aims and purpose

The module is designed to increase the student’s knowledge of the legal responsibilities that underpin the provision of health and social care and is essential for the development of clinical and professional decision-making skills. The module will provide a critical examination of issues specifically relating to professional responsibilities, accountability and patients / clients’ rights in the healthcare setting. The module is suitable for International BSc students as they will be able to undertake a comparative study of the law that governs health care practice in their own country with that of England and Wales.

Course content

Structure and function of the courts in health and social care decisions making Introduction to moral theories and ethical principles Litigation, alternative forms of redress/ NHS Redress Act 2006. Vicarious liability and organisational responsibility for harm Professional accountability in health and social care
Regulation of health and social care professionals.
Regulation of the regulators / Professional Standards Authority
Rights of the patients / client in health and social care – to include human rights, Confidentiality and data protection, documentation / access to information Informed consent, capacity and best interest decision making / advocacy / Gillick competence Mental Capacity Act, DoLS and safeguarding End of life legal and ethical issues
Domestic violence and legal / professional responsibilities

Assessment Criteria


Very Good Grades: B- to B+ A very good understanding of the facts and principles specific to the topics covered in this module and the outcomes being assessed.


Grades: D- to D+ Understanding of the facts and principles specific to the topics covered in this module and the outcomes being assessed. Students will be required to achieve a minimum of D- grade in the assignment to in order to pass.

C- to C+

Grades: C- to C+ Good understanding of the facts and principles specific to the topics covered in this module and the outcomes being assessed.


A- to A* - the student is able to demonstrate a detailed knowledge and critical analysis of the topics covered in the module and the outcomes assessed.

Learning outcomes

    1. Critically analyse the rights of patients and clients within health care systems.
    1. Analyse the development of legal and ethical principles related to health care through the legal systems.
    1. Discuss moral theories and their relevance to practice and decision making.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
CLASS PARTICIPATION Blog which explores a chosen topic from the module content

The student will complete the Blog as a preparatory process to identify a relevant legal and ethical issue from their clincial practice. Students will use the blog to explore and refine to the topic, and idenfity related case law and ethical theory.

SUMMATIVE THEORETICAL ASSMT Critical analysis of a legal/ethical issue related to professional experience

The students will commence a Blog discussion to explore an issue which is related to their clinical practice, this will be developed to a critical analysis of the issue using relavant case law and literature.


Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study

Private study for reading and completion of the module assessment


Seminars - 10 hours ( 1 hour per week over 10 weeks)


Lecture - 30 hours (3 hours per week over 10 weeks)


Discussion board activity - 30 minutes contribution per week for 10 weeks.


Assignment workshop - 2 x 1 hour assessment workshops Assignment supervision 3 x 1 hour tutorials


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in


Reading list

Avery, G. (2017). Law and Ethics in Nursing and Healthcare 2nd Ed. London: Sage. Carr, C. (2012). Unlocking Medical Law. Oxford: Routledge. Edwards, S. D., (2009). Nursing Ethics: a principled based approach 2nd Ed. . Basingstoke: Macmillan. Fry, S.T., & Johnstone, M.J., (2003). Ethics in Nursing Practice: a guide to ethical decision making 2nd Ed. Oxford: Blackwell Science. Hawley, G. (2007). Ethics in Clinical Practice: An Interprofessional Approach. London: Pearson Education. Jackson, E. (2016) Medical Law Text, Cases and Materials 4th Ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kennedy I, Gubb A (2010) Medical Law Text & Material 3rd ed. London: Butterworth. Mason, J.K. McCall Smith, R.A., Laurie, G. T. (2016). Law and Medical Ethics 7th Ed. London: Butterworths. Murphy, R. & Wales, P. (2013). Mental Health Law in Nursing. London: Sage. Other reading material such as articles, case summaries and judgments will be provided via links on Blackboard.