Before we begin examination or treatment we need your consent (or your parents if you are under 16) to do so. This can be given in a number of ways. It may be by a signature on a document (for example if some sort of “invasive” procedure is to be carried out – minor surgery etc). It may be verbal (for example if the GP asks if he can look at your leg injury etc). However it may also be implied. This means that you do not specifically give your consent, but your actions (for example rolling up your sleeve for a blood test or laying on the couch with your trousers unfastened for examination) state that you are happy to have the GP carry out his/her work. It is your right not to give consent, particularly if you are unhappy about any part of the procedure. Please let a GP know if you are unhappy and do not consent to being examined or treated, or if you require further clarification first.
Your consent must be informed. That means you must understand clearly what the procedure entails and how it will affect you. If in any doubt please ask.
Consent is also required to agree to have your clinical information shared with another person or organisation. Again this can be implied or explicit. For example if we state that we are going to refer you to a specialist within a hospital it is implied that some basic clinical information about your present condition will have to be passed to them. However if we are going to pass information on to an employer in the form of a medical report we will ask specifically for a signed form from you.
The following slides explain a little more on consent: