Material risk: a review of informed consent in the UK

Material risk: a review of informed consent in the UK
Thomas Walton
Orthopaedics and Trauma, 24 April 2020
Consent is a requirement for any medical or surgical intervention to be deemed appropriate. For such consent to be considered valid, it must be given voluntarily, by an individual with capacity, who has the appropriate information available to make an informed decision in line with their values. Following the Montgomery vs. Lanarkshire ruling in 2015, the legal basis from which informed consent is measured has changed. The law now reflects pre-existing professional guidelines, and advocates a patient-centred approach to informed consent. The previously paternalistic focus of informed consent, whereby it was deemed a matter for clinical judgement, has been firmly abandoned in favour of the provision of information pertaining to ‘material risks’, as determined by the significance attached to these risks by the patient themselves. This paper serves to provide an overview of consent within the medical profession, and gives an account of the implications of this landmark ruling.

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