This area of the website provides guidance for healthcare professionals on obtaining consent from women within obstetrics and gynaecology services. It provides easy access to all of our procedure-specific consent documentation, and gives advice on how best to support women’s decision-making about their care.
Consent and the Montgomery ruling
The 2015 Montgomery ruling has practical implications for how clinicians obtain consent and support patients to make decisions about their health care.
The implication of the Montgomery ruling is that healthcare professionals must:
- Clearly outline the recommended management strategies and procedures to their patient, including the risks and implications of potential treatment options
- Also discuss any alternative treatments
- Also discuss the consequences of not performing any treatment or intervention
- Ensure patients have access to high-quality information to aid their decision-making
- Give patients adequate time to reflect before making a decision
- Check patients have fully understood their options and the implications
- Documented the above process in the patient’s record
This reinforces the GMC’s guidance on consent.
Model consent process
The diagram below shows the model consent process:
RCOG consent advice
The RCOG’s document Obtaining Valid Consent sets out how to approach consent within women’s health care. We also produce tailored consent advice about specific procedures, which include approved information and text that can be used within local consent forms.
Although the RCOG’s procedure-specific consent documents were produced before the Montgomery ruling, they all remain appropriate for use as part of the process outlined above. The forms should be used to help record women’s understanding of the implications of the final agreed procedure.
Clinicians, Trusts and Health Boards should continue to follow the underpinning guidance within Obtaining Valid Consent and use the procedure-specific consent advice as intended – modified by the Trust or Health Board and incorporated into their own consent documentation.
How to talk about risk
The RCOG has developed the following resources to help clinicians discuss risk with the women they see:
- Clinical governance advice: Pesenting information on risk
Advice for healthcare professionals on how to communicate risk to their patients
- Patient information leaflet: Understanding how risk is discussed in healthcare
Advice for women about how doctors and other healthcare professionals will discuss risk with them