Consent to Treatment

Where possible, a clinician must be satisfied that a patient understands and consents to a proposed treatment or investigation. This will include the nature, purpose and risks of the procedure, if necessary by the use of drawings, interpreters, videos or other means to ensure that the patient understands and has enough information to make an "informed choice".

Implied Consent

Implied consent will be assumed for many routine physical contacts with patients.

Expressed Consent

Expressed consent (written or verbal) should be obtained for any procedure which carries a risk that the patient is likely to consider as being substantial. A note will be made in the medical record detailing the discussion about the consent and the risks. A Consent Form may be used for the patient to express consent. 

Obtaining Consent

Consent (Implied or Expressed) should be obtained prior to any treatment or procedure and prior to any form of sedation. The clinician should ensure that the patient is competent to provide a consent (16 years or over) or has "Gillick Competence" if under 16 years. Consent will include the provision of all information relevant to the treatment.

A patient may refuse consent, delay the consent, seek further information, limit the consent, or ask for a chaperone.

Consent for children

Everyone aged 16 or more is presumed to be competent to give consent for themselves, unless the opposite is demonstrated. If a child under the age of 16 has "sufficient understanding and intelligence to enable him/her to understand fully what is proposed" (known as Gillick Competence), then he/she will be competent to give consent for him/herself.

For children under 16 (except for those who have Gillick Competence as noted above), someone with parental responsibility should give consent on the child's behalf.

Consent form and protocol

Subscribers to the members section of the FPM website can access a model Consent Form and Consent Protocol in the patient services index of the policies and procedures library. If you are not a member, have a look at the information about the benefits of membership and how to subscribe.

Further information

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