Consent to Medical Treatment in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Messier Dowty Ltd v Sabena SA
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 21 February 2000

    The deployment of negative declarations should be scrutinised and their use rejected where it would serve no useful purpose. However where a negative declaration would help to ensure that the aims of justice are achieved the courts should not be reluctant to grant such declarations. So in my judgment the development of the use of declaratory relief in relation to commercial disputes should not be constrained by artificial limits wrongly related to jurisdiction.

  • Re T (an Adult) (Consent to Medical Treatment)
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 30 July 1992

    An adult patient who, like Miss T., suffers from no mental incapacity has an absolute right to choose whether to consent to medical treatment, to refuse it or to choose one rather than another of the treatments being offered. It exists notwithstanding that the reasons for making the choice are rational, irrational, unknown or even non-existent (Sidaway v. Board of Governors of the Bethlem Royal Hospital and Maudsley Hospital [1985] A.C. 871, 904F-905A).

    Doctors faced with a refusal of consent have to give very careful and detailed consideration to the patient's capacity to decide at the time when the decision was made. What matters is that the doctors should consider whether at that time he had a capacity which was commensurate with the gravity of the decision which he purported to make. The more serious the decision, the greater the capacity required.

  • Airedale NHS Trust v Bland
    • House of Lords
    • 04 February 1993

    First, it is established that the principle of self-determination requires that respect must be given to the wishes of the patient, so that if an adult patient of sound mind refuses, however unreasonably, to consent to treatment or care by which his life would or might be prolonged, the doctors responsible for his care must give effect to his wishes, even though they do not consider it to be in his best interests to do so (see Schloendorff v. Society of New York Hospital 105 N.E. 92, 93, per Cardozo J. (1914); S. v. McC. (Orse S.) and M (D.S. Intervener); W v. W [1972] A.C. 24, 43, per Lord Reid; and Sidaway v. Board of Governors of the Bethlem Royal Hospital and the Maudsley Hospital [1985] A.C. 871, 882, per Lord Scarman).

    But in many cases not only may the patient be in no condition to be able to say whether or not he consents to the relevant treatment or care, but also he may have given no prior indication of his wishes with regard to it.

    The doctor who is caring for such a patient cannot, in my opinion, be under an absolute obligation to prolong his life by any means available to him, regardless of the quality of the patient's life. As I see it, the doctor's decision whether or not to take any such step must (subject to his patient's ability to give or withhold his consent) be made in the best interests of the patient.

    Even so, where (for example) a patient is brought into hospital in such a condition that, without the benefit of a life support system, he will not continue to live, the decision has to be made whether or not to give him that benefit, if available. But if he neither recovers sufficiently to be taken off it nor dies, the question will ultimately arise whether he should be kept on it indefinitely.

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Legislation
  • The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 2010
    ... ... must make arrangements for a registered medical practitioner to—(a) carry out an assessment of ... (1) and (3) do not apply if C refuses consent to the assessment, being of sufficient age and ... —(a) medical and dental care and treatment, and(b) advice and guidance on health, personal ... ...
  • Serious Crime Act 2015
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 2015
    ... ... Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, ... Remand: medical examination and report ... 9(1) Any power to ... 4 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004 (trafficking people ... ...
  • Coronavirus Act 2020
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 2020
    ... ... Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, ... 3: Emergency arrangements concerning medical practitioners: Wales ... ,(b) relates to diagnosis, care or treatment and is provided in consequence of another person ... ...
  • Sentencing Act 2020
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 2020
    ... ... Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, ... Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 (remand for medical examination) that the person in question did the ... (2) (b) , section 185(3) mental health treatment requirementPart 12drug treatment requirementPart ... ...
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Books & Journal Articles
  • Court‐Ordered Caesarian Sections: In Whose Interests?
    • No. 56-2, March 1993
    • The Modern Law Review
    ... ... section and consequential treatment could lawfully be performed upon a pregnant woman despite her refusal of consent. The case arose when Mrs S was admitted to ... medical advisors, there was the gravest risk that ... ...
  • Resources
    • No. 41-1, March 1994
    • Probation Journal
    ... ... patients’ rights regarding Consent to Medical Treatment, in the light of the ... ...
  • Medical Treatment — Pragmatism and the Search for Principle
    • No. 56-6, November 1993
    • The Modern Law Review
    ... ... They sought High Court sanction both to move the child to a new treatment unit and to give medical treatment without her consent. The Decision The Court of Appeal held both that it had the power and that it should exercise it to authorise the child’s ... ...
  • High Court, Family Division
    • No. 66-5, October 2002
    • Journal of Criminal Law, The
    ... ... High Court, Family Division Consent to the Withdrawal of Medical Treatment B v NHS ... ...
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Law Firm Commentaries
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Forms
  • Medical report for gender recognition
    • HM Courts & Tribunals Service court and tribunal forms
    Forms relating to gender recognition including applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate (Form T450).
    ... ... This report must include specific details of the patient’s treatment. For example, exactly ... what treatments (e.g. hormones) the patient is ... your files; you will need to obtain the patient’s consent before recording any information ... that could later be seen by a third ... ...
  • personal welfare application (COP GN4)
    • HM Courts & Tribunals Service court and tribunal forms
    Court of Protection forms including the COP1 application to make decisions on someone's behalf.
    ... ... • make decisions in relation to serious medical ... treatment cases, which relate to providing, ... who lack capacity to consent. The aim is to give legal ... backing for acts ... ...
  • Claim notification
    • HM Courts & Tribunals Service court and tribunal forms
    Road Traffic Act (RTA) personal injury forms including the form to contest an RTA claim.
    ... ... Section B — Injury and medical details ... 1.1 What type of injury was suffered? ... rehabilitation treatment recommended and any ... treatment provided ... those opposite ... The MIB consent to being added to the Stage 3 ... Procedure as a ... ...
  • Alternative application for a Gender Recognition Certificate
    • HM Courts & Tribunals Service court and tribunal forms
    Forms relating to gender recognition including applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate (Form T450).
    ... ... or else have undergone surgical treatment ... to modify your sexual characteristics and ... 6. Medical report ... In addition to proving that you have ... declaration of consent confirming ... • in a Scottish protected civil ... ...
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