You are here: HomeEthical IssuesConsent → Professional guidance

Ethical Issues - Consent

Professional guidance

General Medical Council

Consent: Patients and doctors making decisions together. 2008

The guidance provides a comprehensive overview of a doctor’s duties with regard to sharing information with patients, obtaining appropriate consent, respecting patients’ wishes regarding information disclosure, and treating people who lack capacity to consent.  Paragraph 2 sets out the principles on which the guidance is based.

Whatever the context in which medical decisions are made, you must work in partnership with your patients to ensure good care. In so doing, you must:

  • a. listen to patients and respect their views about their health
  • b. discuss with patients what their diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and care involve
  • c. share with patients the information they want or need in order to make decisions
  • d. maximise patients’ opportunities, and their ability, to make decisions for themselves
  • e. respect patients’ decisions.

0-18 years: guidance for all doctors (2007)

This guidance covers all aspects of treating children and young people under the age of 18. Paragraphs 22-33 specifically look at issues of consent

The GMC website’s interactive section GMP in action has a set of case studies relating to issues of consent Waiting room 2

British Medical Association

The BMA has a range of publications and guidance in relation to consent and capacity. These can be found on the ethics pages of the BMA website

The fifth edition of the BMA Consent toolkit ( 2009) consists of a series of cards relating to specific areas of consent such as providing treatment to children, consent and research, obtaining consent for teaching purposes, assessing competence and determining best interests.

The Department of Health has published a range of guidance on consent for both clinicians and patients Key documents

The Nursing and Midwifery Council
The Council’s Professional Code has a section on consent