Consent to treatment

What is informed consent?


It is having enough information and understanding of your proposed treatment, to make a decision to go ahead with it or not.

It is important
  • That you know the benefits as well as the significant risks, side effects or possible complications of any treatment, before you decide to go ahead. Some common examples of risks are infection, a blood clot or a reaction to a drug.
  • That you are involved in the decision making process with the doctor, nurse or health professional.
  • That you know how to get the information you need to make that decision.

Getting the information you need

  • The outpatient visit offer a very important opportunity to find out as much as possible about the planned treatment and what you are agreeing to.

  • You may not be able to take in everything that is said at first; but you will get other opportunities to ask questions both at your medical check-up with a nurse specialist; or immediately before your treatment with a doctor, nurse specialist or health professional.

  • Please remember that the doctor, nurse and other health professionals are here to help you, and to answer any questions you may have.

  • General anaesthetic and sedation have their own special risks: if you have any worries about this you will have the opportunity to talk to your anaesthetist (also a trained doctor) before your operation.

  • If you prefer, you can have a friend or relative with you at your medical check-up to support you.

  • In many cases you will be given a written patient information leaflet, to reinforce what the doctor has explained to you about the treatment.

  • If English is not your first language - we may be able to arrange an interpreter/advocate to help you if you 'phone 020 7288 5551, 10 days before your medical check-up.

How final is it?


Once signed or agreed it is possible for you to change your mind and you can cancel the treatment.

You can refuse treatment; but you cannot insist that the doctor provides a treatment that is different to that proposed, if she/he feels that it is not in your best interest.

Any further questions?


If you have any further questions about consenting to operation, investigation or treatment, please write to the Risk Management Department, The Whittington Hospital, London N19 5NF.
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