Informed Consent


Consent is required from a patient regardless of the intervention whether it be for a physical examination or surgical procedure.

The foundation of consent to treatment is that a person must give their permission before they receive any type of medical examination or treatment.

Consent can be given, for example:

  • Verbally – by saying you are happy to have an investigation, or to be examined.
  • In writing – by signing a consent form prior to surgery.

Definition Of Consent

For consent to be valid, it must be voluntary and informed, and the patient consenting must have the capacity to make the decision. These terms are explained below:

  • Voluntary – the decision to have surgery or not must be made by the patient themselves, and must not be influenced by pressure from friends, family or other outside factors.
  • Informed – the patient must be given all of the information in terms of what the treatment involves, including the benefits and risks, whether there are reasonable alternative treatments and what will happen if treatment does not go ahead. Please ensure you have read all of the relevant pages regarding your condition and any proposed treatment on this website.
  • Capacity – the patient must be capable of giving consent, which means that they understand the information given to them, and they can use it to make an informed decision.

What Is Informed Consent?

Informed consent is a process that requires us as surgeons to inform you the patient about your condition and its likely course, treatment options, and expected benefits and risks. Your understanding and involvement is key to optimal treatment selection and recovery. By following this process, we maximise patient benefit and safety. As surgeons it is important that we carefully communicate realistic expectations for the course and outcome of your condition and proposed treatment.

After your first clinic consultation with your surgeon, Mr Malik, you may have only a general idea of your condition and the proposed treatment plan. Understandably you will likely want to know more information so that you can think about the ways this plan and how the following decisions you make, might affect your health and your life.

It is important to remember that deciding whether to go ahead or not go ahead with surgery both carry risks and potential problems. It is weighing up these risks that is challenging, however only you the patient can make this difficult decision. Your surgeon can diagnose your problem and guide you, but they cannot make the final decision for you.

You must understand the risks and drawbacks of any plan to decide if the benefits you expect are worth it. As a patient, it is important to have realistic expectations about the risks, rehabilitation, and outcome of an orthopaedic foot and ankle procedure.

Most people find that they need to get some questions answered before they can decide on a treatment plan that carries some risk for them.

Informed consent is a process that includes all of these steps:

  • You are told (or get information for example through this website) about the possible risks and benefits of surgery.
  • You are told about the risks and benefits of other options, including non-operative treatment.
  • You have the chance to ask questions and get them answered to your satisfaction.
  • You have had time to discuss the plan with family, friends or advisors.
  • You are able to use the information to make a decision that you think is in your own best interest.
  • You share your decision with your doctor or treatment team.

If you have gone through these steps and decide to go ahead with surgery, you are usually asked to sign a paper called a consent form. The completed and signed consent form is a legal document that lets your doctor go ahead with the treatment plan. The consent form names the procedure or treatment to be done, its potential risk and its intended benefits.

From the surgeon’s viewpoint, informed consent means that:

  • A surgeon must make every effort to be sure the patient understands the purpose, benefits, risks, and other options of the surgical procedure. Then the surgeon must get the patient’s consent before starting.
  • As long as patients are mentally able to make their own decisions, medical care cannot begin unless they give informed consent.

In summary, Informed consent is the process and actions that take place as you learn about and think about a treatment before you agree to it. Your signature on the form is taken to be evidence that this took place. If you decide that you don’t want the procedure or treatment, you should not sign the consent form.

Recommended Links

The following links provided detailed information regarding the consent process and we recommend that you visit these.

NHS Choices consent

General Medical Council guidance on consent