The General Medical Council (GMC) has been consulting on their revised Consent guidance which outlines what doctors should consider when discussing treatment and care with patients. The following is our response, submitted in January 2019.
The idea of a legal annex that summarises and simplifies the complexity of the ethical and legal framework is a good one. However we found it difficult to comment on this in more detail without seeing the draft annex and it seems that this will be drafted only once the consultation has closed.
It would be particularly important to clarify the similarities between different terms across devolved nations. In determining its usefulness, it would be important to understand how often the legal annex will be updated to take account of new case law (for example the Montgomery, and ABC cases) or revised guidance (such as the NHS Code of Practice on Confidentiality). It will also be important to understand to what extent the legal annex will cover ‘consent ‘ which appliesto slightly different contexts (e.g. the legal basis of consent which is used to underpin certain types of data processing under the GDPR).
Discussions about the impact of the GDPR on clinical practice have sometimes confused the legal basis of consent that might be used in medical research, with consent as intended in this guidance.
To read more, please download the consultation.