By giving consent a patient is giving agreement and permission before receiving treatment or examinations. People should be provided with all relevant information in a way that they understand before they are asked to give consent. Patients have a right to be involved in decisions about care and treatment and they can only be involved if they are able to understand the information being provided.
As part of the Patients Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 patients have the right to clear communication about their care and treatment from NHS staff. This Act puts a responsibility on NHS staff to communicate and provide information in a way that patients understand.
The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman published a document (Informed Consent report | SPSO) highlighting concerns around the appropriate obtainment of consent for surgery from patients. The report states that ‘every patient has the right to make an informed choice’ and points out that not all explanations are provided in a way to meet an individual’s needs and understanding.
The Scottish Government has issued an invitation to NHS Boards to express interest in the formation of a working group to explore the development of a model of a complaints handling procedure (CHP) for the NHS. This group has now been set up with the aim of developing a standard model of CHP for the NHS.
The Scottish Health Literacy Action Plan Implementation Group will be discussing updates on work around informed consent and information will be made available and updated via this site as it becomes available.
Please see NHS Inform for more information on Health Rights (Health rights in Scotland | NHS inform) and information on consent.