How well the trust performs consent is under constant scrutiny. The NHS litigation authority effectively act as insurance underwriters for the trust in relation to medical negligence claims. They require that we have and follow a documented process in relation to consent.
To improve our consent process and support decision making, a number of specialties at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust are using a new digital consent application by Concentric Health
There are two particular areas of focus at present. We must document information given to patients, both written and verbal. To recap, anyone taking consent for a particular procedure must either be;
- The person carrying out the procedure or
- A person capable of carrying out the procedure independently or
- A trainee capable of performing the procedure under supervision who has been authorised to take consent or
- A person who has been trained in taking consent for that procedure
How well we meet NHSLA standards in relation to consent and other criteria determines the amount the trust pays to insure against clinical negligence. Good practice in consent is also monitored by the care quality commission (CQC). They ensure that the trust strives to achieve best practice in consent and adheres to the law on consent as laid out in the health and social care act (2008)
How are we responding to this?
Procedure specific consent forms
To meet the requirements of the NHSLA the trust is moving towards greater use of procedure specific consent forms. By combining good quality written information with the consent form itself, it should remain clear at all times what information has been provided to patients. This avoids the need for a complicated system for tracking and recording the provision of separate information leaflets. The trust is committed to the development and use of these forms. Those already available can be viewed and download here on the RCHT intranet consent pages. If you would like information on developing a form for your specialty, contact the Forms Review Group (See their intranet page).
Tracking and verifying that individual clinical staff have been trained to take consent for a particular procedure presents a logistical problem. The trust is developing a series of on-line training modules, the completion of which will be recorded automatically on the electronic staff record (ESR). These are only needed where members of staff are consenting for procedures they are not themselves capable of carrying out.