The law in England and Wales regarding consent to treatment is of some complexity, but it remains true that hospital patients have two basic rights: to refuse treatment of any kind, and to leave hospital. Two hundred and seven teaching hospital in-patients were asked about their care, and what would happen if they exercised these rights. Informal psychiatric patients were the most likely to disagree with their treatment in hospital, while almost half of all patients did not know that they had the right to refuse it. Many anticipated coercive responses from staff. Patients in hospital should be better informed of their rights.
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