Giving your consent

We will ask for your consent before you have any treatment, test, examination, or take part in research. We’ll always explain to you what’s going to happen, and give you the choice to go ahead.

Your consent has to be...

  1. voluntary – it’s your decision
  2. informed – we have to give you all the information, including what will happen if the treatment, test, or procedure doesn’t take place.

You can give consent in two ways:

  1. by saying yes (or no if you do not consent)
  2. by signing a consent form

Find out more about how consent is given at NHS.uk

If you cannot give consent...

...we'll always ask your next of kin, advocate, or lasting power of attorney.

If you say no, we will respect your decision. Sometimes we don’t need your consent to treat you. For example:

  • in an emergency and it’s in your best interest
  • if you have a severe mental health illness
  • if your condition is a risk to public health
  • if you’re severely ill and living in unhygienic conditions

Find out more about when consent isn’t needed at NHS.uk

If you're under 16...

Children can say yes or no to treatment, if we think they fully understand what’s going on.

We may ask you to give consent on behalf of your child. However, if you refuse treatment, your decision could be overruled by the courts if we think treatment is in their best interest.

Find out more about consent for children and young people at NHS.uk

Consenting to research

Consenting to research works in exactly the same way as any other care of treatment:

In an emergency

We may ask you to join a study in an emergency situation. We will tell you about the benefits and risks, and you’ll have time to ask questions before you decide to take part.

If you cannot give consent…

…we may ask your next of kin, advocate, or lasting power of attorney to give consent on your behalf.

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