Informed Consent

Consent is your agreement for a doctor or health professional to provide treatment, including any medical or surgical management, care, therapy, test or procedure.

Informed Consent in health care means we will give you understandable and clear information, so you can make the right decision for you.

You have the right to use an interpreter if English is not your first language. Interpreter services are free and can be provided in person or by telephone.

It is strongly recommended that you use a professional interpreter rather than a family member or friend who may not be familiar with medical words.

Meaning of 'informed consent'

'Informed consent' means:

1. Your doctor or health professional will discuss your treatment options with you. Please ask questions if there is anything you do not understand.

2. It is your decision whether or not to undergo the procedure or treatment.

3. Your doctor or health professional obtains your consent or your refusal for each episode of treatment.

4. Your doctor or health professional will make a formal record of the agreed decision.

When will you be asked to give consent?

With the exception of life saving , emergency situations, we will ask you to give your consent before undergoing any treatment or procedure, including:

  • Giving a blood specimen
  • Having a surgical operation.

You will also be asked for consent to share medical information with your GP if you have provided their details.

Types of consent

There are three types of consent:

  • Written consent is where you sign a document (e.g. a consent form) to confirm your agreement to treatment or procedure, because the treatment or procedure carries significant risk.
  • Verbal consent is where you will orally state your agreement to a treatment or procedure which does not carry a significant risk.
  • Implied consent is where you indicate your agreement through your actions or by cooperating with the health practitioner’s instructions.

For example when you:

- Extend your arm to provide a routine blood sample for testing

- Take and swallow medication that is provided, or

- Attend an appointment for the purpose of receiving information or advice regarding management of your condition.

Every patient has the right to be involved in all decisions about their health care. 

Your treatment options

When making a decision about your ongoing treatment you should take into account the following:

Most conditions will have more than one treatment option, and each option may have different risks and expected outcomes. It is important that you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment option.

When deciding which treatment option is best for you, you should consider your personal and family needs, the expected outcome of each option and any possible complications.

Please remember you have the right to ask questions and obtain a second opinion from a health professional or doctor.

Risks of your treatment?

It is important to remember that different procedures involve different risks and complications vary for each treatment. It is important that you are fully aware of the possible risks so you can make an informed decision whether or not to proceed with the recommended treatment.

Can you change your mind?

Yes, you can decide not to proceed with the treatment for which you have consented at any time by advising your health practitioner.

Good questions to ask

Medical treatment is often complex and you may receive information that you do not understand at a time when you may be distressed by your condition and diagnosis.

If you have any concerns around your treatment or plan please speak to your medical team.

Questions you should ask your health practitioner include:

1. Why do you think this procedure is right for me?

2. Is this procedure new or uncommon and what research evidence is there to support your recommendation?

3. How many times have you done this procedure?

4. What are the outcomes of the procedures you have done?

5. How quickly will I need to have this treatment?

6. What is likely to happen if I do nothing?

7. How long will it take to recover from the procedure or treatment?

8. Will I need to change my lifestyle?

9. What can I do to prepare for the procedure or treatment?

10. Will it cost me anything?

11. What else can you tell me that will help me to make an informed decision?

12. Can I have the time to discuss it with family and friends before I decide?