The Importance Of Patient Consent For Medical Practitioners

Author:Mr Tom Hayes and Rebecca Ryan

The National Consent Advisory Group published a HSE policy on obtaining patient consent which is essential reading for any medical practitioner.

Consent is a fundamental prerequisite to treating patients and in Ireland, the threshold for consent is particularly high. Therefore, it is critical that healthcare professionals are aware of their obligations at all times.

The National Consent Advisory Group published a HSE policy to cover all aspects of consent this summer. The policy can be viewed online at Strictly speaking the policy applies to all patient interactions conducted by, or on behalf of, the HSE. However, it does reflect best practice, ethical guidance and Irish case law and is a useful guide for all healthcare practitioners in both public and private settings.

Broadly speaking the policy states that adequate information should be given in relation to:

The diagnosis and prognosis and any uncertainties; Treatment options; The purpose of any proposed treatment and what it will involve; The potential benefits, risks and likelihood of a successful outcome; Whether there is any experimental aspect to the proposed treatment; and Associated cost. The practitioner providing treatment is responsible for ensuring that adequate...

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