Shared decision making and consent post-Montgomery, UK Supreme Court judgement supporting best practice
Joel Ward, Dilraj Kalsi, Anirudh Chandrashekar, Bill Fulford, Regent Lee, Jonathan Herring, Ashok Handa
Patient Education and Counseling, 15 May 2020
The UK Supreme Court Montgomery judgement marks a decisive shift in the legal test of duty of care in the context of consent to treatment from the perspective of the clinician (as represented by Bolam rules) to that of the patient. This has important implications in the surgical field worldwide, where informed consent is critical. This paper aims to explain the ruling and how it impacts the consent process.
The case and ruling are outlined and summarised as pertaining to consent and requirements for validity; a shift from the clinician’s interpretation about what would be best for patients to the values of the particular patient concerned in the decision in question. A sample of recent commentaries is reviewed.
Four examples illustrate some of the practical applications of the Montgomery ruling on consent and how the ruling can empower doctors and patients to make mutually beneficial shared decisions. Future consent should be obtained using a Montgomery compliant strategy in accordance with the principles of shared decision making.