Consent to treatment defined
Consent to treatment is the principle that a patient has to give express permission before any medical treatment can be carried out on them.
The type of treatment being carried out is important as consent is needed for anything from a blood test to a major operation.
Consent can only be said to have been given if it is both:
The decision to consent or not to consent to treatment must be the patient’s own decision and not be as a result of any persuasion by medical staff, friends or family.
The patient must be given full information about what the treatment he/she is having, the benefits and risks of the treatment, any other alternatives to the treatment and what may happen if the treatment does not go ahead.
The only circumstances where treatment can go ahead without the patient’s consent is if that patient does not have mental capacity in order to make a decision regarding their treatment. If the doctors then feel that the treatment is in their best interests, the treatment may go ahead.
Treatment may also be carried out in order to save a patient’s life. In other words, if the patient is unable to give consent because he or she is mentally or physically incapacitated, treatment may be carried out if it is lifesaving.
If you believe that you have received treatment for which you did not provide consent, you may be able to pursue a legal claim against those who provided the treatment.