Consent can only be given when a patient is suitably informed, has the capacity to decide for themselves, and is given voluntarily.
What consent is needed?
- Must be ‘informed’ - patients must have received information about the risks and benefits of the vaccination, either verbally from a clinician, or by leaflet or letter. We provide patients with this information when booking, so they are informed.
- Can be given verbally, in writing, or implied. We believe that by booking their appointment, patients are providing ‘implied’ consent, in much the same way as they can consent to receiving a 'flu vaccination by holding out an arm, or accepting a prescription.
- Therefore, our booking system currently supports implied informed consent. We suggest that verbal consent in confirmed on the day of vaccination.
- It is best practice to record that consent has been obtained.
How much information is needed to 'inform' a patient?
Patients should be given as much information as needed for them to make an informed decision - this may differ from one patient to another, and no one is obliged to seek full information. Suitable information includes:
- The vaccination being given, and the disease it protects against
- The risks and benefits of receiving the vaccine
- Possible side effects or reactions, and how to treat these
- Information about how many doses they will require
What about patients who cannot consent?
If a patient cannot consent, a 'best interest' decision must be made - this is not the same as consent.