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New doctors given advice on thorny issue of consent

29 July 2008

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The Medical Protection Society (MPS) has issued advice for new doctors, warning them of the need to be aware when taking consent for a procedure they are not familiar with.

The MPS says that newly qualified doctors should not feel pressured to do anything beyond their knowledge, expertise and competence, and advised them to ask a senior to explain anything they are unsure of as part of their training.

Doctors are facing new challenges with the GMC’s recently published guidance on consent which means that, for the first time, issues such as risk and making decisions when a patient lacks capacity are covered in detail.

Dr Stephanie Bown, Director of Policy and Communications with the MPS, said: “Doctors are under a duty to optimise each patient’s ability to make their own decisions which, when done properly, can be very time consuming.

“Consent is at the heart of good medical practice. In order for doctors to be able to meet the standards expected from the GMC consent guidance, we would like to see it reflected at the early stages of their training, so that they can be well prepared for the issues that will arise when dealing with all patients, including those whose capacity to make a decision may be impaired.”

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Medical Protection Society

Related story: New patient consent guidance “lacks substance”, says expert