Consent for operation/treatment of a mentally handicapped person has been an issue stimulating much discussion. Generally, in the past, relatives or consultants responsible for their care have given ‘consent’ for treatment when mentally handicapped people were unable to do so. It was appreciated that legally this was not valid once the person was over the age of 16 and so we felt that the ‘consent’ procedure operating at our hospital should be reviewed. We were unsure of the practices in other areas, apart from Lothian Area where we knew new ‘consent’ forms had been devised, and felt that a good starting point would be to contact mental handicap hospitals in Scotland to gather information regarding the present ‘consent’ practices overall.
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