Consent to treatment
Consent to treatment is the principle that a person must give permission before they receive any type of medical treatment, testor examination. This must be done on the basis ofan explanation by a clinician.
Consent from a patient is needed regardless ofthe procedure whether it's a physical examination, organ donation or something else. The principle of consent is an important part of medical ethics and the international human rights law.
This topic covers:
Consent from children and young people
When consent isn't needed
Consent and life-sustaining treatment
For consent to be valid, it must be voluntary and informed, and the person consenting must have the capacity to make the decision. These terms are explained below:
If an adult has the capacity to make a voluntary and informed decision to consent to or refuse a particular treatment, their decision must be respected. This is still the case even if refusing treatment would result in their death, or the death of their unborn child.
If a person doesn't have the capacity to make a decision about their treatment, the healthcare professionals treating them can go ahead and give treatment if they believe it's in the persons best interests.
However, the clinicians must take reasonable steps to seek advice from the patients friends or relatives before making these decisions.
If they change their mind at any point before the procedure, the person is entitled to withdraw their previous consent.
If they're able to, consent is usually given by patients themselves.
However, someone with parental responsibility may need to give consent for a child up to the age of 16 to have treatment.
They should consider, among other things:
Treatment can be withdrawn if there's an agreement that continuing treatment isn't in the person's best interests. The case will be referred to the courts before further action is taken if:
It's important to note the difference between withdrawing a person's life support and taking a deliberate action to make them die.For example, injecting a lethal drug wouldillegal.
If you believe you've received treatment you didn't consent to, you can make an official complaint.
Consent to treatment is the principle that a person must give permission before they receive any type of medical treatment, test or examination. This must be done on the basis of an explanation by a clinician.
All adults are presumed to have sufficient capacity to decide on their own medical treatment, unless there is significant evidence to suggest otherwise.
People aged 16 or over are entitled to consent to their own treatment, and this can only be overruled in exceptional circumstances.