Lawyer Richard Griffith explains how healthcare assistants can make 'no decision about me, without me' a reality for patients
Recent discussions over the plight of a woman who had spent a year sleeping in her wheelchair because the local NHS trust refused to allow her to be lifted into bed highlight the dilemma facing nurses when they are required to manually handle patients ( Andrews and Robinson 2003 ). Nurses are acutely aware that the manual handling of patients can result in back injury ( McGuire and Dewar 1993 ). Yet they are also aware that they owe a duty to patients to provide nursing care to meet their needs and that might only be achieved through manual handling. There is evidence that hospitals in particular have still not met the requirements of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations ( Trevelyan 2000 ). The hazards of working in the community environment have generally been better addressed as part of the assessment for and delivery of individual care packages. This article considers the law’s approach to balancing the opposing needs of nurses’ and patients’ health needs.
A debate has been developing in Nursing Standard on the issue of childhood immunisations. This article adds to the discussion by considering the likelihood of legislation being introduced to make immunisation compulsory in the UK. It also discusses how the courts approach an application for childhood vaccination against the wishes of a parent and the implications for nursing practice of that approach.
In the second part of this article, the authors examine the biological consequences for patients of changes in drug formulation, nonadherence to drug administration schedules and failure to accommodate drug/food interactions.
The authors outline the legal and professional consequences for nurses of failing to adhere to the law relating to the administration of medications. Part 2, next week, will look at the biological consequences for patients of non-adherence to drug administration schedules.