When someone consents to treatment it means they have given permission for a medical examination, test or treatment. A patient’s consent is required no matter what procedure or examination etc that they have. 

The whole principle of consent is a vitally important part of human rights law and medical ethics. If a doctor or therapist, for example, offers you help, you will need to consent to treatment first. 

We understand that this is something that could be anxiety-provoking. This is why we are here for you. 

We offer mental health support for Selby and the surrounding areas. Why not give us a call? Our phone line is open from 7 pm – 10 pm, 365 days of the year.

Call us on (01757) 642 399. If you call before our phone lines are open and we cannot answer you will be diverted to an NHS Helpline.

What Exactly Is Consent?

The dictionary defines consent as “giving permission for something to happen”. When someone asks you to give consent the consent needs to be valid and entirely voluntary. It must also be informed. In other words, you should have enough information about the treatment to make a decision.  The individual who is also consenting to treatment should have enough capacity to make a decision such as this. 

Here is what the terms “voluntary”, “informed” and “capacity” mean:

  • Voluntary – This means that if you’re about to receive mental health treatment in Ulleskelf, for example, you must not have been pressured by medical staff, family, or friends. The decision must be yours and yours alone. 
  • Informed – You should be given as much information as possible about your treatment, whether there are any benefits or risks. You should also be told about alternative treatments that are recommended and what will happen if you don’t receive any treatment at all.
  • Capacity – You or anyone being offered treatment needs to be capable of giving their consent. This means that they need to fully understand all of the information that they’re being given. They can then use this information to make a decision. 

Let’s imagine that I decided not to go ahead and receive the treatment I need. My decision has to be respected if I have enough capacity to make an informed decision. The same applies to you or any adult. This is even the case if lack of treatment could result in death or the death of someone’s unborn child. 

 

How Consent Is Given 

Consent can be given in a number of ways, in writing and verbally. 

In writing – This could consist of you signing a consent form to say you’re happy to have surgery or receive mental health support.

Verbally – This could consist of you agreeing to have an x-ray, for example.

Consent should be given to a healthcare professional who is responsible for your treatment. This healthcare professional could be a surgeon, a nurse, or a doctor, for example. 

Did you know that you are entitled to change your mind at any time before the treatment/procedure? This is the case even if you have already given consent. 

When Consent Is Not Needed 

Consent may not necessarily be needed if an individual:

  • Needs emergency treatment
  • Needs an additional emergency procedure while they’re being operated on
  • Needs to receive hospital treatment for a severe mental health condition but attempted suicide or to self-harm while they were competent and have refused treatment 
  • Has a severe mental health condition such as dementia, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder and does not have the capacity to consent
  • Is severely ill or infirm and lives in unhygienic or unsanitary conditions
  • Is a risk to the public because they have tuberculosis, cholera, or rabies

There is a lot of debate surrounding the issue of consent. Some people might feel that they have the capacity to give consent when health professionals say otherwise. Alternatively, some people might think they are unable to give consent when in reality, they can. Medical teams, healthcare workers, therapists, and community groups want to offer us all the best care possible. However, they also understand how important consent is to the patient or the would-be patient. 

We understand that the issue of consent can make some people feel anxious. This is why we are here for you. 

We offer mental health support for Selby and the surrounding areas. Why not give us a call? Our phone line is open from 7 pm – 10 pm, 365 days of the year.

Call us on (01757) 642 399. If you call before our phone lines are open and we cannot answer you will be diverted to an NHS Helpline.

Interested in helping those who are struggling with their mental health? We offer Mental Health First Aid training in Selby. Contact us at info@communitea.org.uk