Obtaining consent for an operation
How to support patients in making informed decisions about their treatment options
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,