Obtaining consent for an operation
How to support patients in making informed decisions about their treatment options
- By: Dafydd Loughran, Aliya Mackenzie, Natalie Farmer
More than 10 million operations and procedures are performed each year in the UK.1 Weighing up whether to go under the knife is a major decision, and doctors need to play a supportive role in making sure that patients are fully informed about the risks and benefits of undergoing a treatment.
Obtaining consent for a procedure is one of the core competencies for graduates expected by the General Medical Council,2 and is a common scenario in medical school objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs). In this article we offer guidance on how to take a patient centred approach to sharing information about a procedure and obtaining consent.
The law states that patients have the right to determine what happens to their bodies, which means that performing a procedure on a patient who hasn’t signed a consent form is a form of battery and can lead to criminal charges.3
In the past,