ALLIANCE Director, Irene Oldfather, spoke at the launch of the SPSO’s latest report ‘Informed Consent: Learning from Complaints’ on the 2nd March. The launch event, held in the Scottish Parliament, highlighted cases of inadequate consent procedures in Scottish hospitals and explored the context and reasons for consent not being properly obtained.
Irene spoke about failures of consent from the point of view of service users, especially situations when a person with dementia cannot give consent to a medical procedure. She highlighted the importance of consulting with the next of kin or welfare attorney of a person with dementia to discuss the person’s treatment and options of care.
She argued that the report went right to the heart of a rights based approach to health and wellbeing. Giving or refusing consent to medical treatment is an essential component of the right to autonomy, and is a key human right. Two people with exactly the same illness might make different choices about their treatment depending on what matters to them. This report can help ensure that staff, families and carers all understand the importance of consent in medical procedures.