A file with 'informed consent' written on it and a stethoscope resting on top

1.5 Describe the actions to take if an individual cannot give informed consent to the treatment

If an individual is unable to give their consent to treatment, tests or examination (perhaps due to not having the capacity to understand the implications) then the healthcare professional should investigate if the individual has a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or Legally Appointed Deputy (LPD) for their health and welfare. These individuals are able to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the individual and consent can be obtained from them.

Nobody else, including family members and carers, can legally consent for another individual and should never be asked to.

If an individual does not have an LPA or LPD, a best interests meeting must be arranged by the healthcare professional to discuss the best interests of the individual. This meeting must invite everybody that has a stake in the individual’s health so as well as healthcare professionals, the individual’s family/friends should also be consulted.

If, at the conclusion of the meeting, it is decided that it is in the best interest of the individual to commence with the treatment, then the healthcare professional is permitted to go ahead with it.