Consent and parental responsibility – the past, the present and the future

Consent and parental responsibility – the past, the present and the future
Asma Keshtgar, Mohamed Hania, Mohammad O. Sharif
British Dental Journal, 28 January 2022; 232 pp 115 – 119
Open Access
Abstract
Introduction
Informed consent is the ‘permission or agreement’ given by the patient for a proposed action. This paper explores the clinician’s role in obtaining informed consent, provides an overview of consent and parental responsibility in the UK, and presents practical adjuncts to aid dental professionals in ascertaining who has parental responsibility to delineate persons capable of providing assent on behalf of an underage patient.
Consent and parental responsibility
While the principles of consent have largely stayed constant with time, subtleties in parental responsibility legislation exist in different regions of the UK. An audit exploring consent and parental responsibility knowledge among clinicians within the orthodontic department at the UCLH Eastman Dental Hospital demonstrated that none of the respondents met the gold standard (100%). The results ranged from 59-89% with a mean score of 74%. The majority of questions answered incorrectly related to knowledge of parental responsibility.
Conclusion
It is the responsibility of clinicians providing any care within the UK to stay up to date with legislation and regulations regarding consent and parental responsibility. Knowledge-based questionnaires can highlight areas of knowledge deficit which can be addressed through continuous professional development. This paper provides a flowchart summarising parental responsibility and a prefilled parental responsibility questionnaire as adjuncts to simplify the process of dental professionals ascertaining parental responsibility.

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