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Clinical risk management: enhancing patient safety.
  1. Peter Sloan, Director of Clinical Services
  1. Box Hill Hospital, Nelson Road, Box Hill, Victoria 3129, Australia sloan.peter{at}

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    2nd ed. Ed Charles Vincent. (Pp 573; £47.50.) London: BMJ Books, 2001. ISBN 0-72791-392-1.

    Clinical risk management is a strange subject which will perplex many readers. If this was a book about cricket, it would have chapters on no balls, wides, missed stumpings, and accusations by Indian bookmakers, but it probably would not talk about how to be a successful cricketer. As a result, some readers will be a bit put off by both its lay out and content. However, for those who already practice high quality medicine, this text offers an opportunity to refine their practice further.

    To a large extent, clinical risk management grew out of the need to address issues arising from litigation against individual doctors and health services—an influence that still strongly underpins this volume. A somewhat broader view, that there are inherent risks in all medical practice and we must learn how to deal with them appropriately, also strongly influences this book and represents the future of clinical risk management. This will not only reduce adverse events for patients, but will also have the pleasant side effect of reducing litigation.

    The most interesting aspects of this book are those that apply the principles and issues of risk management to individual clinical disciplines. The reviews in areas such as oncology, psychiatry, and emergency medicine are well thought out and well referenced, providing useful information to enable clinicians to further reduce adverse events in their specialty and the consequences of those adverse events.

    While not quite having reached Bible status, this book provides an extremely comprehensive introduction to the area of clinical risk management for the novice, and also would be highly useful as a reference for individuals seeking to know more about clinical risk management. While probably not quite making it to bed time reading, it is a book where each chapter or area can be read in its own right. It is certainly a book that every clinical risk manager should have access to, and I would recommend that clinicians read their specific chapter. In future editions, this area of the book I am sure is destined for expansion.