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Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults and the Law

A reference book rather than a core text, but one packed full of interesting case vignettes, and more relevant to general practice than might at first seem

A reference book rather than a core text, but one packed full of interesting case vignettes, and more relevant to general practice than might at first seem

I think this is a reference book for the practice library rather than one to read from cover to cover.

A vulnerable adult is defined as person ‘who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or maybe unable to take care of him or herself against significant harm or exploitation'.

The author points out that in England there is no specific legislation to protect vulnerable adults (unlike Scotland which has an Adult Support and Protection Act), as there is to protect vulnerable children (Children Act).

The definition also fails to include those not needing community care services.

This book brings together the breadth of the law covering the rights and obligations of the individuals and organisations involved.

Although this may seem a far cry from primary care, we have frequent dealings with vulnerable adults.

Making decisions about a patient's capacity to make decisions about his/her care; dealing with concerned relatives who wish us to hide a serious diagnosis; deciding whether to section a hypomanic patient giving lavish gifts to local shop-owners - all these need us to have some awareness of the legal framework on which these decisions have to be based.

The book groups the dilemmas into categories such as advance decisions, mental capacity and freedom of information and uses examples of real cases to discuss the laws involved.

There are chapters on protection of vulnerable people from local authority and from NHS practices; areas that I had not previously considered.

I found the vignettes fascinating and there were many parallels with cases I have seen as a GP. I think the book is one to be browsed for interest rather than a core GP text, but I enjoyed the browsing.

Dr Clare Etherington

Rating: 3/5

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