Last reviewed 01/2018

In law, the consent form could be used as evidence in the event of the doctor being sued for battery or for negligence. It is not a contract.

For any procedure or treatment in medicine, whether this is measuring blood pressure, giving a tablet or carrying out a large bowel resection, patients must, in general, give their consent. In many situations this consent can be implied - as when the patient holds out an arm for the blood pressure to be measured.

It is wise to obtain evidence that consent has been given, in writing, for major procedures and operations. This is all the consent form is.

For consent to be valid the patient must:

  • be given relevant information relating to the nature and purpose of the procedure and to its risks and benefits
  • be able to understand such information
  • give consent voluntarily

Patients may withdraw their consent at any time. If, after giving consent and signing the form, a patient changes their mind and says that they no longer wish to go ahead with the operation, then you do not have consent to proceed.