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After a prolonged gestation and difficult labour, informed consent is safely delivered into English and Scots law

  • Keith J. B. Rix
Summary

It is over 40 years since the principle of informed consent was accepted in the USA and it has been long established in other common law jurisdictions. But for decades English law has been constrained by the Sidaway case, which effectively perpetuated a form of medical paternalism. Nevertheless, a patient-centred approach can be traced to one of the judgments in that case, and in the case of Montgomery the Supreme Court has now adopted an approach to consent which is based on self-determination and autonomy and is more closely aligned to professional practice. It calls for a dialogue between doctor and patient, recognition of the patient's right to make a choice and recognition by the doctor of their duty to provide the comprehensible information necessary for the patient to exercise choice, having regard to what a prudent patient, in that patient's circumstances and with that patient's characteristics, would want to know.

Learning Objectives

• Understand how the principle of informed consent has emerged in UK law

• Understand the principle of informed consent

• Know how to apply the principle of informed consent to the practice of psychiatry

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Correspondence Professor Keith J. B. Rix, The Fermoy Unit, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gayton Road, King's Lynn PE30 4ET.UK. Email: keith.rix@nsft.nhs.uk
Footnotes
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Declaration of Interest

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Footnotes
References
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General Medical Council (2008) Consent: Patients and Doctors Making Decisions Together. GMC.
General Medical Council (2013) Good Medical Practice. GMC.
Gilbar, R (2011) Family involvement, independence and patient autonomy in practice. Medical Law Review, 19: 192234.
Grubb, A, Laing, J, McHale, J (2010) Principles of Medical Law (3rd edn). Oxford University Press.
Herring, J (2012) Medical Law and Ethics (4th edn). Oxford University Press.
Jackson, E (2016) Medical Law: Text, Cases, and Materials (4th edn). Oxford University Press.
Jones, M (1999) Informed consent and other fairy stories. Medical Law Review, 7: 103–34.
Maclean, AR (2004) The doctrine of informed consent: does it exist and has it crossed the Atlantic? Legal Studies, 24: 386413.
Sherwin, S (1988) A relational approach to autonomy in health care In The Politics of Women's Health: Exploring Agency and Autonomy (ed S Sherwin): 1947 Temple University Press.
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BJPsych Advances
  • ISSN: 2056-4678
  • EISSN: 2056-4686
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-advances
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After a prolonged gestation and difficult labour, informed consent is safely delivered into English and Scots law

  • Keith J. B. Rix
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