Risk thinking is transforming the understanding, organisation and management of health care systems, and its significance is likely to increase still further over the next two decades as technological advances, for example the new genetics and the discovery of new biomedical markers, open up novel possibilities for health risk management.
Heightened societal risk consciousness, such as food panics and the debate over the MMR vaccine, co-exists, apparently paradoxically, with increased life expectancy in advanced industrial societies and increasing concern about the longer term future. At the same time, social trends are pushing health care systems towards the surveillance of populations and the targeting of groups identified as being at higher risk. All too often, service users, health professionals, policy makers and
researchers draw upon a risk management framework without reflecting critically on its assumptions or limitations.
This introductory text focuses on the underlying generic issues of risk management in a health care. Aimed at health professionals, managers, educators and policy makers who are concerned with risk management, it allows the reader to analyse risk management issues, and to critically evaluate the claims made about existing and new technologies, in an informed way. It covers all aspects of risk relevant to a clinical setting and is closely related to decision making in the clinic.
Bob Heyman is Professor of Health Care Risk Management in the School of Human and Health Sciences at the University of Huddersfield, and Professor Emeritus in Health Care Research at City University, London. Previously, he held the post of Associate Dean for Research at St Bartholomew School of Nursing & Midwifery, City University. His research is concerned with qualitative approaches in health care risk management. He has written extensively on this topic in relation to a wide range of clinical contexts, particularly mental health and learning disability services and prenatal chromosomal screening. Bob Heyman is currently collaborating with the Care Quality Commission in a study of risk screening of healthcare organisations, and with The West Yorkshire Mental Health R&D Consortium in a programme of research concerned with clinical risk management in mental health services. Andy Alaszewski is an applied social scientist with a BA honours degree (Social Anthropology, Class I) and PhD (Social and Political Sciences) from the University of Cambridge. In 2001, following a successful academic career at the University of Hull he took up the posts of Professor and Director of the Centre for Health Services Studies at the University of Kent and is also Director of the Research Design Service for the South East funded by the National Institute for Health Research. For the past 30 years he has been involved in research focusing on policy making and the provision of health and social care. Increasingly his interests have focussed on the ways in which risk is framed within health and social care and the ways in which risk issues influence and shape the development of health and social care services. He is the founding editor of Health, Risk and Society an international peer-reviewed journal published by Taylor and Francis. Monica Shaw recently has recently retired from the post of Senior Research Fellow at City University, London. She is Emeritus Professor at Northumbria University where she was previously the Executive Dean of Social Sciences and the Dean for Quality, holding institution-wide responsibility for quality assurance systems. Her current research interests include the history of women's action in coal mining disputes and their changing role in ex-mining communities; the role of nurses in the delivery of quality healthcare and the barriers to multiprofessional risk management in forensic mental health services; and the escalation of regulation in public services as a response to critical cases. Monica Shaw has considerable experience both as a senior manager and a critical analyst of the impact of regulation on public and voluntary services, and she has a long history of personal involvement in the development and governance of voluntary organisations in the North-East of England. Dr. Mike Titterton is Chairperson of HALE (Health & Life for Everyone), an international charity that helps children and adults at risk of harm and provides training for health and social work staff. He also works as an international expert in health, social care and education for bodies such as the Council of Europe, NHS Health Scotland and the World Health Organisation. He was previously long-term expert and team leader for an EU Tacis programme in health education in Russia and has worked on several health and social care projects throughout Eastern Europe. He has also worked for four universities in the UK, as well as in health care and social work in the past. His research and professional interests include promoting risk literacy and reducing harmful risk behaviours.
Introduction ; 1. The concept of risk ; 2. The social construction of health risks ; 3. Values and health risks ; 4. Risk and probabilistic reasoning ; 5. Time and health risks ; 6. Information about health risks ; 7. Health risks and the media ; 8. The regulation of health risks ; 9. Health risk and the patient safety agenda