At long last the Department of Health has issued new guidance on consent to treatment issues and revisions for consent forms following the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA).

The guidance and revised consent forms can be accessed here.

They have been revised to take into account the principles of assessing capacity laid out by the MCA and also set out the obligations to instruct independent mental capacity advocates in certain circumstances. They also remind clinicians on how to deal with lasting powers of attorney, court appointed deputies and applying to the Court of Protection.

Our advice is that all those involved in clinical governance as well as healthcare professionals at all levels should study the new guidance and ensure compliance.

Trusts are advised that the following action should be put in hand immediately:

  • Consent policies must be reviewed and updated in line with this new guidance and also to take account of recent developments in both statute and case law.
  • Trusts should revise, amend and update consent forms.
  • Trusts should undertake a clinical audit to ensure compliance with policies, to ensure healthcare professionals are dealing with consent adequately and that forms are properly completed and retained.