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10 tips for getting consent

1 Obtaining consent for medical procedures is both a moral and a legal obligation.

1 Obtaining consent for medical procedures is both a moral and a legal obligation.

2 Patients have an absolute right to say no – even if you personally think they are wrong or misguided in doing this. It is their body!

3 Failure to provide adequate information about something you do to a patient may lead to a claim for clinical negligence – so be sure.

4 Avoid medical jargon. Explain the procedure in language the patient really can understand – and, if in doubt, check understanding.

5 Don't offer just a single option – let the patient feel they have a choice.

6 Patients aged over 16 are assumed to be competent to give consent...

7 ...but it is good practice to get consent from under 16s as well – although not legally binding.

8 Remember consent can always be withdrawn.

9 Always record the fact that consent was obtained for a procedure.

10 An excellent Good practice in consent guide is available on the Department of Health website

Professor David Haslam is president of the RCGP

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