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Law and professional issues in midwifery

Midwives magazine: Issue 7 :: 2011

Authors: Richard Griffith, Cassam Tengnah and Chantal Patel
Publisher: Learning Matters
Price: £22
ISBN: 9781844454693

Review by Alison Ledward

Law and professional issues in midwifery
This textbook is up to date and relevant. It does not presuppose any prior working knowledge of the law, making it a very useful resource for students, as well as registered midwives.

Written by senior experts in healthcare law, the introduction sets out clear and concise objectives to guide the reader. The book has a total of 14 chapters, exploring topical issues such as assisted conception, diversity and human rights. Each chapter houses a high information content and succinctly draws out key concepts of the law and its relationship to practice and NMC standards.

A particular strength is to be found in the use of case study examples to illustrate specific points in clinical practice, activities and opportunities for reflection. These features help engage the reader and add to the richness of the text.

As a reference, the book scores highly. It anticipates and responds to some of the more complex dilemmas confronted by midwives working ‘at the coalface’ of maternity care.

I thought there were instances where the book tended to be overly prescriptive and a concern of mine was that this might encourage defensive practice among the readership.

I also feel that greater prominence should have been given early on in the text to the legal position of the fetus. This would have helped set the tone throughout and enabled the reader to digest the concept of the argument that most maternal decisions in pregnancy affect the fetus.

On a practical level, the book would be useful for midwives seeking guidance on an issue in practice or for those wishing to enhance their legal knowledge of clinical issues.