Editor's Choice

New rules of consent: the patient decides

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h1534 (Published 19 March 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1534
  1. Fiona Godlee, editor in chief, The BMJ
  1. fgodlee{at}bmj.com

How much information should patients be given about the risks of treatment? And who decides what a patient needs to know? Until now, in the United Kingdom, doctors have been allowed to decide this, and the 30 year old Bolam test specified that their conduct would be considered acceptable if it would be supported by a responsible body of medical opinion.

But this has all just changed. Last week the UK’s Supreme Court judged that it was for patients to decide whether the risks of treatment and alternative options have been adequately communicated. Nadine Montgomery, who has diabetes, was not told of the risks …

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