What is consent?
Consent is the process by which you give permission to a health professional to provide your care and treatment.
It may be “implied” (offering your arm for a blood pressure reading) or “formal” (signing a consent form for an operation).
In either case your consent must be given voluntarily and you must have all the information you need to make a decision. This includes what the treatment involves, the benefits and risks, the details of any alternative treatments and what would happen if the treatment does not go ahead.
How do I give consent?
Consent is a two way process between you and the health professional. It is a chance for you to ask any questions, and for the health professional to explain what your treatment will involve.
You may give consent to the proposed course of action non-verbally, for example by offering your arm for a blood test. In more complex cases, consent will be recorded on a consent form.
Where a child or young person cannot give consent for themselves, someone with parental responsibility must sign the form on their behalf. There are separate arrangements for an adult patient who lacks capacity to give consent.
Explaining the consent form
Your health professional will explain the procedure to you, in particular the intended benefits, any risks, any alternatives and the consequence of not having the treatment. You may be offered an information leaflet about your treatment.
You have the right to change your mind at any time, even after you have given consent, and even if the procedure has started (as long as it is safe and practical to do so).
We may ask for your permission to take photographs to aid diagnosis and treatment. For example if you are receiving treatment for a wound or ulcer, taking photographs is a very good way to monitor the progress over time. You do not have to agree and if you prefer not to, this will not affect the care and treatment we provide. We will ask for your separate written permission to use any images or recordings in research.
Training doctors and other health professionals is essential to the NHS. Your treatment may provide an important opportunity for such training, where necessary under the careful supervision of a registered professional. You may, however, decline without this affecting your care and treatment.