The law says that healthcare people (like doctors, dentists or nurses), need somebody to say it’s OK before they can give you any treatment or test. This is called ‘consent’. Except in some special situations, healthcare people can’t do a test or treatment without consent.
The law controls who can give consent for your healthcare.
A lot of the time the law lets people give consent for themselves. This means they can choose to say yes or no to different tests and treatments. They can do this even if other people don’t agree with their choice.
You can’t give consent just because you reach a certain age. Instead, you are allowed to give consent if a doctor, court or tribunal decides that you can. The law calls people who can make their own healthcare decisions ‘competent’.
Even if you have a disability, a doctor, court or tribunal can decide that you can make healthcare decisions if they believe:
You can understand what’s happening to you, your options, and what might happen because of your choices.
You can use health information to make decisions that are well thought-out.
You can communicate your choices. You have the right to communicate any way you can. This includes using an interpreter or assisted communication device.
If a doctor, court or tribunal decides you can’t make healthcare decisions, someone else will be allowed to do this for you.
If a doctor, court or tribunal decides you can make healthcare decisions, you have certain rights. If you can’t make these decisions, you have other rights.