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Consent and confidentiality

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

You consent has to be:

  • voluntary – it’s your decision
  • 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:

  • by saying yes (or no if you do not consent)
  • by signing a consent form

Find out more about how consent is given at NHS Choices

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 Choices

Children 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 on NHS Choices