Consent in Healthcare: Understanding Your Legal and Professional Responsibilities

  • 7 hours (approx)
  • 1 day


Patient consent has always been pivotal to healthcare practice. However concerns about what actually happens in day-to-day practice have been fuelled following the case of Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board and recent inspections carried out by the Care Quality Commission.

This one-day refresher course for healthcare professionals covers the law relating to consent in relation to:

  • patients who are able to make decisions for themselves
  • those who lack capacity and are unable to give informed consent

You'll also have the opportunity to discuss any specific issues or areas of concern with the course team, which includes experienced healthcare lawyers, a communication expert and clinicians.

This course is run by the UCL EGA Institute for Women's Health (IfWH).

Who this course is for

This course is aimed at all healthcare professionals involved with consenting patients, including nurses, midwives, allied health professionals, GPs, hospital doctors and other healthcare workers.

Course content

Topics covered will include:

  • What is consent?
  • The law governing consent of patients, including relevant case law and guidance
  • Patient knowledge and understanding - what does 'informed' mean?
  • Practicalities of the consent process
  • How to apply the legal principles to day-to-day practice
  • The law governing treatment of those who lack capacity - including defining 'necessity' and 'best interests'
  • Assessing capacity

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course you'll:

  • understand the English law of consent, including the requirements in relation to communicating risk
  • understand the legal possibilities which exist to treat patients without capacity to consent, including assessment of best interests
  • have greater confidence in applying the legal provisions related to consent in your area of practice

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Course team

Dr Anne Lanceley

Anne is a Senior Lecturer at UCL EGA Institute for Women’s Health. She trained as a nurse at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and has held various innovative senior clinical posts. Currently she combines a research role with clinical work within the UCLH Cancer Psychological Support Team. Her research interests lie in symptom management, recovery after treatment, quality of life and innovative psychological therapies - their implementation and evaluation in the clinical setting. She also has a life-long interest in language and communication in health care.

Joanne O’Sullivan

Joanne is deputy head of legal services (solicitor) at Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, a position she has held since July 2015. Joanne is a healthcare solicitor qualified in Ireland, England and Wales. She completed her law degree in Ireland and Australia and studied medical law and ethics for three years as part of her degree. Since qualification as a solicitor in 2007, she's gained over seven years healthcare legal experience, working for the top healthcare law firms in England and Ireland dealing with clinical negligence claims and representing medical insurers such as the NHS Litigation Authority, Medical Defence Union and Medical Protection Society.

Dr Jackie Nicholls

Jackie is a clinician and a healthcare solicitor with an academic background in human factors/psychology. She's particularly interested in the changing dynamic of the patient-professional relationship and how patients and professionals can be supported in new and evolving roles. Patient consent/confidentiality and medical errors/negligence are key areas of interest.

Course information last modified: 13 Mar 2017, 16:15