Consent to treatment – Hailsham Chambers

Posted April 20th, 2015 in codes of practice, consent, disclosure, doctors, medical treatment, negligence, news by sally

‘Medicine is a changing field, and the way it is practised is in many ways unrecognisable today from 30 years ago. Diagnostic techniques have improved. The technology is better. New drugs come onto the market. Patients are better informed. Less and less are patients inclined to take the stance that “doctor knows best”. There is a plethora of information available through the internet enabling patients to obtain information about symptoms, investigations, treatment options, risks and side-effects; there are patient support groups; healthcare institutions issue leaflets; pharmaceutical products are labelled and contain data sheets intended to give the public information, including in relation to risks; there is a constant raising of awareness of medical accidents and perceived inadequacies of healthcare provision through the media including social media. Whistle-blowing legislation protects those within the health service who wish to remove the veil from poor standards in hospital. And there have been some high-profile inquiries and reports which have revealed severely substandard practice in some places, two obvious examples being North Staffordshire and Morecambe Bay. The result is that the person who walks through the door of a consulting room today is likely to be very different to the person who walked in 30 years ago: better informed, cannier, more suspicious perhaps, more demanding, less resigned.’

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Hailsham Chambers, 26th March 2015