While there may be ethical dilemmas relating to consent in certain circumstances, much of the time clear principles exist to guide the process.
There are many sources of information but key documents outlining these principles are
- Consent: Patients and Doctors Making Decisions Together General Medical Council (2008)
- 0-18 Years: Guidance for all Doctors General Medical Council (2007)
- The Mental Capacity Act – Guidance for Health Professionals British Medical Association (2007)
- Reference Guide to Consent for Examination or Treatment Department of Health (2001)
Clinicians taking consent are expected to be familiar with salient points of these documents.
Who may take consent
The trust requires all consent for procedures to be taken either by
- 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
- All staff are expected to take responsibility for the decision as to whether or not they can reasonably take consent.
- Senior medical staff delegating consent must be satisfied that the person taking consent is competent to do so.
- Where possible a procedure specific consent form should be used on which the risks and benefits are clearly outlined.
- Each department maintains a simple register of authorisation to consent. It is the responsibility of each member of staff to ensure that their authorisation to take consent for a procedure or group of procedures is recorded in the register.
- The governance lead in each department oversee maintenance of the register.
It is vital that the trusts policy on consent is adhered to. If you have concerns relating to the process of consent, please use the contact details under the “getting advice on consent” tab to contact a member of the team. Clinicians responsible for administering the process of consent may find the details in the frequently asked questions section helpful. Note that these processes relate to written consent using the trusts consent forms 1-4. Procedures normally carried out following verbal consent such as cannulation, suctioning of patients, physiotherapy manipulations etc are not covered by the consent authorisation registers. Additional information is contained in the trusts policy on consent and the RCHT policy on the mental capacity act, available via the document library.