Intended for healthcare professionals

Education And Debate Commentary

communicating risk in the United Kingdom

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 25 September 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:735
  1. Michael Powers, Queen's Counsel (
  1. ADR Chambers, Lincoln's Inn, London WC2A 3UP

    Mazur describes how in the United States clinicians are changing their practices in accordance with what the law demands. In the United Kingdom the medical profession should take the credit for the changes in clinical practice that have driven the law on informed consent. Within certain limits, it is the clinician who decides how and what to impart and, unless there is an adverse outcome, patients are unlikely to complain and cannot sue about inadequate information.

    A report by the chief medical officer for England on clinical negligence acknowledges that communication and information sharing has to be improved.1 Exchange and provision of information is at the core of an open and honest relationship between healthcare professionals and patients.2 Mazur questions whether relatives …

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