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Informed Consent: How this works in Clinical Negligence claims
20 June 2023
Arden Yeomans, a trainee solicitor in the Clinical Negligence Department looks at the issue of Informed Consent.
What is informed consent?
Informed consent is a central principle of the UK’s healthcare system. Consent is required by both medical ethics and human rights law. Before a patient can consent to a procedure or any form of medical treatment, they must be fully aware of what they are consenting to. This is known as informed consent.
Informed consent is a collaborative process by which healthcare providers are obligated to provide patients with sufficient information about medical procedures so that the patient may make an informed decision on what they think is the right decision for them. The informed consent process involves providing the patient with all of the risks and benefits of the proposed procedure or treatment, any alternatives and what may happen if the patient does not continue with the treatment or procedure.
The law surrounding informed consent:
The case that concerns informed consent cases is the case of Montgomery, which states that doctors must provide information about all material risks involved with a specific procedure or treatment. Any risk that a specific patient would find significant, must be disclosed before informed consent can be given.
An example of how informed consent works in clinical negligence claims:
Watts V North Bristol NHS Trust (2022) involved the issue of informed consent for a spinal fusion surgery. Following the surgery, the patient was left with significant pain and restriction. It was accepted that the surgery was carried out competently. However, the basis of the Claimant’s case was that he was not made aware of any alternative or less invasive procedures, and that he had therefore not given informed consent for the spinal surgery.
The case failed because the Claimant was unable to prove that even if he had been given the option of alternative surgeries, he would have elected to undergo a different treatment as opposed to the spinal fusion surgery.
This is an important concept in clinical negligence cases, as we must be able to demonstrate that the Claimant would have opted for the different treatment, if it had been offered to them.
How can TRUE help?
If you believe that you have undergone a procedure or a medical treatment without being fully aware of what you were consenting to, you may be entitled to compensation.
Our solicitors dealing with medical negligence claims are based at our Newcastle head office but can assist anyone in living in England and Wales with their case.
We offer our clients:
- A free initial, no-obligation assessment
- No Win, No Fee agreements
- Expertise in handling complicated medical negligence cases
Our team of expert lawyers will be able to tell you whether you may have a case against your healthcare provider and can also advise you of the process should you wish to pursue a claim.
If you’re looking to make a claim against your doctor or hospital, call us on 0344 854 7000 to discuss your case, or submit your details below and we’ll call you back at a time convenient for you.