Consent to treatment

Consent is your choice Before a doctor, a nurse, or anyone else looking after your health can examine you or treat you, did you know they need your consent? That means they must get your agreement. Choosing whether to give consent needs thinking about.

How will you be asked?

The way doctors and nurses ask for consent partly depends on what they plan to do. They may ask in an informal way, that is, without asking you to say anything but simply to do something.

For example, they might ask to have a look at your throat. If you then open your mouth, it’s a signal that you consent. If it’s for something more complicated, like an operation, you’ll be asked directly or be asked to sign a form agreeing to the treatment.

What do you need to know before giving consent?

In order to make a decision, you and your parents need the doctor or nurse to give you information about the treatment which they are offering. You should always ask questions if you don’t understand or feel you want to know more.

For instance, you might want to find out about:

  • why they think the treatment will be good for you
  • what sort of things it will involve
  • what benefits they hope will result
  • how good the chances are of you getting such benefits
  • whether there are any alternatives or risks
  • whether the risks are small or large
  • what may happen if you don’t have the treatment

If the person who is asking you to give consent to the treatment is not able to answer your questions, ask them to find out or arrange for someone else to talk to you about your concerns.