Health Policy, Law and Ethics 1

The details
Health and Social Care (School of)
Colchester Campus
Summer & Long Vacation
Undergraduate: Level 4
Monday 14 April 2025
Friday 22 August 2025
17 November 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

FDSCB750CO Oral Health Science

Module description

The world of health care is undergoing a period of crisis, not least the current debate about the funding and cost effectiveness of health care, but also in relation to concerns about the availability of treatment to certain population groups. At an individual level, the access to medical knowledge, including access to personal medical records, is raising ethical questions.

There are also concerns regarding end of life decisions and the disclosure of information. Some of these issues have a legal dimension. This module provides the opportunity to explore some of the ethical and legal issues that commonly confront health care workers. This course aims to provide an overview of the legal and ethical frameworks, which underpin and govern the practice of health care and research.

Module aims

The overriding aim of the teaching strategy is to enable the students to gain an understanding of the legal and ethical issues that healthcare workers face on a regular basis.

Participants successfully completing the programme at level 4 will be able:
1. To provide an understanding of key legal concepts in health care
2. To examine the generation and application of law in health care settings
3. To demonstrate the ethical base of health care practice

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the learner will be able to:

1. Have a general understanding of the English legal system, and demonstrate awareness of ethical principles and what constitutes negligence and be able to apply these principles to health care practice (Essay).
2. Understand the legal position on consent in health care and be able to discuss consent from an ethical perspective including the political and ethical issues associated with resource allocation (Essay).
3. Be able to explain the term 'judicial review' and its function.
4. Be able to discuss the specific legal and ethical issues associated with children and are aware of the main principles of the Children's Act (Essay).
5. Be able to discuss the spirit of mental health law and be able to examine the implications of mental health law for health care practice (Skills2/Essay).
6. Be aware of the accountability issues related to professional codes of conduct and the importance of confidentiality within healthcare identifying situations when it can be breached (Skills 2/Essay).
7. Be able to discuss the legal and ethical issues associated with euthanasia and terminal care and make comparison of the law associated with euthanasia in the UK and other countries (Essay).

Module information

Society in general is becoming increasingly litigious. In the context of health care, law in general and health care law in particular has a profound influence on practice. Managers and clinicians are called to account for their actions, justifying resource decisions as well as clinical judgements. An understanding of the law and moral reasoning is thus an important knowledge base for health care staff.

Learning and teaching methods

This module consists of nine 3-hour sessions covering a broad range of legal and ethical issues within healthcare in general and oral health in particular. The delivery will include a combination of lectures and group discussion on the topics above.


  • Beemsterboer, P.L. (2016) Ethics and Law in Dental Hygiene. 3rd edition. London: Elsevier Health Sciences.
  • Beemsterboer, P.L. (2016) Ethics and Law in Dental Hygiene - E-Book. 2nd ed. Saunders.
The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   HS722 Law and Ethics Essay     

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mrs Mayra Crean, email: mc18260@essex.ac.uk.
Oral Health Team
Jakub Kulesza E: hhsohlth@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 60 hours, 57 (95%) hours available to students:
3 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

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