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Patient Consent


It is a general legal and ethical principle that valid consent must be obtained before starting treatment or physical investigation or providing personal care for a patient. All NHS organisations are therefore required to have robust policies and procedures in place to ensure patient consent is obtained appropriately.


This principle reflects the right of patients to determine what happens to their own bodies, and is a fundamental part of good practice. A health professional who does not respect this principle may be liable both to legal action by the patient and action by their professional body. Employing bodies may also be liable for the actions of their staff.

The Health and Care Standards 2015 highlights shared decision-making and co-production as a key component of high-quality, person-centred health and care. Involving people, families and carers in decisions about the planning and provision of their care ensures services are aligned to meet their needs. The consent process is a key part of shared decision-making. Taking consent is not a single event but a process of discussion, of weighing up the options and supporting people to make the right decision for them as individuals.

With this in mind, the Welsh Government consent guidance has been revised, with changes made to take account of important developments in case law, primarily the Montgomery case, which shifted the focus of consent towards the specific needs of the patient. Organisations should review any local policies to ensure they are consistent with the new Guide to Consent for Examination or Treatment 2017 – Revised Guidance (

To support the practical application of this guide, the NHS in Wales have produced a revised NHS Wales Model Policy and consent forms. To help focus the work undertaken within all Health Bodies in Wales, the Welsh Risk Pool (Shared Services Partnership) is now leading on the Consent to Examination and Treatment Programme in Wales where up-to-date documentation and information can be found - NWSSP - Welsh Risk Pool - All Wales Consent to Treatment or Examination Improvement Programme