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Unit information: Law and Ethics in 2018/19

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Law and Ethics
Unit code ORDSM0033
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Brookes
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Dental School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences


This Unit of Teaching will be offered as an Optional Unit as part of a modular distance learning programme. The programme will allow students to build certificate, diploma or masters level qualifications by combining optional 20 credit units. The Law and Ethics Unit has the following Elements and their general aims are: -

Element 1 Ethical principles and their practical application to dentistry

  • To provide students with the underpinning knowledge to understand ethical and in particular medical ethical principles and philosophy.
  • To enable students to apply ethical principles to their everyday practice of dentistry.
  • To introduce students to the application of medical ethics within the health service and the wider community.

Element 2. The legal underpinning of dentistry and dental practice

  • To provide students with an understanding of the law as it applies to the health service and in particular dentistry
  • To provide students with the underpinning knowledge to understand legislation and the courts as they impact upon dental practice.

Intended learning outcomes

Students should obtain a knowledge and understanding of the following:

  • the underpinning ethical principles and concepts that impact on dentistry
  • the key ethical issues in dentistry
  • the relationship of values on ethics on delivery of dental care and dental team
  • the issues of consent, competence, confidentiality, autonomy, harm, beneficence and justice
  • the legal underpinning that relates to the delivery of dental care
  • the issues associated with risk management in the dental practice
  • the balance between ethics and business demands

The student should acquire the skills and attributes necessary for:

  • preparing guidance on consent and confidentiality based on current case law
  • managing the principles and application of risk management in dentistry
  • managing the application of ethical principles to the practice of every day dentistry

Teaching details

Self directed CAL sessions; Seminars with videos ; Reflecting writing; Workshops – case studies, practical exercise;

Assessment Details

Assessment Details

This Unit will have the following summative assessments: -

1. Two written coursework assignments (50%)

2. Four online assignments (20%)

3. A final examination comprising an MCQ paper (30%)

Reading and References

Beauchamp, T.L. Childress, J.F. (2001) Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 5th. edition Oxford University Press.

NHS England (2016) Confidentiality Policy POL_1010

Dworkin, G. (1988) The Theory and Practice of Autonomy, Cambridge Studies in Philosophy, Cambridge

General Dental Council (2005) Standards for Dental Professionals, Principles of Patient Confidentiality. General Dental Council. London.

Human Rights Act (1998). London; The Stationery Office, 1998

Information Commissioner Office (2018) Guide to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Information Commissioners Office (2006). What price privacy? The unlawful trade in confidential personal information. The Stationery Office, London

Information Commissioners Office (2006). What price privacy now? The Stationery Office, London

Manson, N.C. and O’Neill, O. (2007) Rethinking informed consent in Bioethics Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

O’Neill, O. (2002) Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics. University Press, Cambridge