Who is responsible for obtaining consent?

The doctor undertaking an investigation or providing treatment should usually talk to the patient, but may decide to delegate part of the decision-making process to someone in the healthcare team who is suitably trained and competent.

The doctor must ensure the person they delegate to has sufficient knowledge of the intervention and its associated benefits and harms, as well as alternative options for treatment and care. They must also possess the skills to have a dialogue with the patient, in accordance with the GMC's guidance on consent.

If part of the decision-making process has been delegated, the treating doctor is still responsible for making sure the patient has been given the information they need to make a decision, has had time and support to consider it, and has given their consent before treatment or care is provided. The doctor should also check the patient has a realistic expectation of the outcome.

For more information, read our advice on the GMC's guidance to decision-making and consent.

This page was correct at publication on 21/12/2021. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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