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Safeguards for Young Minds: Young People and Protective Legislation. Edited by Richard Williams and Richard White. (Pp 114; £10 paperback.) Gaskell/Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1996. ISBN 0-902241-94-X.
Almost all paediatricians need to be aware of protective legislation and some become familiar with the main provisions because of frequent involvement with children requiring protection. Knowledge of the legal criteria basic to the achievement of protection is important because it enables medical advice to be focused and effective. Few, if any, paediatricians carry the detail of child care and mental health law in their heads, hence the usefulness of this book which summarises the relevant legislation and recent case law.
A lot of information is packed into little more than a hundred pages. It is admirably clear and very orderly. To maintain this feature some repetition was necessary but there is no surplus discussion. It would be easy to criticise it for what has been left out—for example, there is only sparse reference to recent case law—but to have enlarged it would have reduced its value.
The book is for reference rather than reading as a whole, but some chapters are particularly important and interesting. Those impressing me were chapters 6 and 10 dealing respectively with consent to treatment and restriction of liberty. Chapter 13, which reviews the work of the courts, will be helpful to any who are unfamiliar with the various types of court and the roles of expert witnesses.
A small book, relevant to an important part of current practice, up-to-date, and filling an unoccupied niche is to be welcomed and the authors are to be congratulated. A “buy” recommendation.