The reference guide to consent for examination or treatment

Patients Over the age of 16 years

Those aged 16 or over are entitled to consent to their own treatment. This can only be overruled in exceptional circumstances.

Patients Under 16 years old

Someone with 'parental responsibility' can consent for Under 16s.

This could be:

  • the child's mother or father
  • the child's legally appointed guardian
  • a person with a residence order concerning the child
  • a local authority designated to care for the child
  • a local authority or person with an emergency protection order for the child.

Children under 16 can consent to their own treatment if judged to be ‘Gillick competent.’

This means they have been judged to have the intelligence, competence and understanding to fully appreciate what is involved in their treatment.

If a practitioner seeks advice on patient consent, they should consult the appropriate professional body.

This information can also be found on the NHS Choices Webpage.

Blind or partially sighted patients

When a visually impaired person attends a dental practice to receive a course of NHS dental treatment, the expectation is that the practice should evidence steps taken to follow the Accessible Information Standards.

For a visually impaired person, the contents of the PR form may need to be read to them. The patient is given the option of either signing or marking the form in the appropriate box with a cross, to indicate that they are agreeing to receive a course of NHS treatment.

The form could be signed on their behalf, either by their escort or by a member of the dental team. They then write next to their signature “signed on patient’s behalf, with their consent, as patient blind / partially sighted”.

There must be a record in the clinical notes detailing:

  • the information given
  • in what format the information was given (verbally)
  • the reason why the clinician has been unable to get the forms signed by the patient.