Acting in the best interest of service users
The primary goal of everyone working in health and social care is to act in the best interests of service users. For example:.
ÃÂ doctors try to improve their patient's health, or at least their quality of life
ÃÂ nurses care for patients by meeting their needs
ÃÂ social workers try to improve the day-to-day life of service users
ÃÂ care assistants give people the practical they need.
The right of service users to expect practitioners to act in their best interests is reinforced by professional codes of conduct, and legislation such as the Mental Health Act 1983 and the NHS and Community Care Act 1990.
Assessing risk to individual groups
The decisions which health and social care practitioners make can have far reaching implications. Prior to taking action I a particular case, they have a responsibility to assess whether:
ÃÂ the person is at risk from their own behaviour
ÃÂ the person is at risk from other people's actions db!
ÃÂ the person's family, friends and carers are at risk from the person's behaviour.
Assessing risk to children is a particularly sensitive issue. The Children Act 1989 placed new emphasis on the importance of assessing children who might be at risk from physical violence, sexual abuse of neglect, and gave social services new duties to keep children safe.
A child considered at risk is interviewed by a social worker, and may be given a medical examination if physical or sexual abuse is thought to have occurred. A child protection conference is then held, where doctors, social workers, teachers, parents, police (and sometimes the child) meet to assess the risk of the child being harmed. Possible outcomes include:
ÃÂ placing the child on a Child Protection Register
ÃÂ going to court...