Your Guide to Informed Consent for Patients

Dec 15, 2023 | Latest News

Your Guide to Informed Consent for Patients

Certain standards of conduct and guidelines bind all healthcare providers. These are all put in place by the Australian government to protect patients, ensuring that they receive a suitable and appropriate standard of care. Many of these guidelines are in place to ensure that patients aren’t misled or misguided during their clinical care.

Understanding informed consent is crucial for both medical professionals and people seeking medical care. Continue reading as we break down what informed consent is, how it works, and how you can expect it to be integrated into your patient experience.

For personalised advice, contact Professor Mark Ashton today.

What is Informed Consent?

Let’s explore the basics first.

The term ‘informed consent’ refers to the ways a healthcare provider educates their patients about their suitable clinical options and all the relevant associated risks. Healthcare providers must ensure all information provided is in plain language, is accessible, and that  the patient understands the information and is competent to make a treatment decision.

Informed consent must be made voluntarily, without influence from their medical practitioner(s) and family, and only after receiving all relevant information which includes treatment options, explanation of potential risks and potential treatment outcome.

Healthcare providers are legally, ethically, and professionally bound to ensure informed consent is gained prior to providing any treatment.

Why Informed Consent Matters

Informed consent aims at avoiding misunderstandings between the patient and clinician(s). By healthcare providers obtaining educated informed consent, patients are given a fuller overview of their procedure and the risks associated, before making any treatment decisions.

Informed consent allows individuals to assess all the risks against the benefits when making important choices for their health. Excluding exceptional circumstances such emergency surgery, Australian adults have the right to determine what procedures, interventions, and treatments they undergo. Anything undertaken without informed consent is unlawful unless legislation or care law permits otherwise. For example, in a life-or-death emergency, treatment may be provided without informed consent.

In cases of cosmetic surgery, informed consent is a requirement. Your surgeon will obtain informed consent, written or verbal, throughout each stage of your treatment or procedure. This should include before the procedure, medical examination, clinical photographs, and more.

How Informed Consent is Achieved

Exceptional informed consent is achieved through a collaborative process. This includes communicating well with a patient, discussing all options available along with the associated risks, and sharing in the decision-making process. For Ashton Plastic Surgery, this is completed during our thorough consultation processes. Your surgeon will seek to understand your concerns and in return, they will carefully outline everything you need to know about the risks, benefits, potential outcomes, and alternative treatment options.

With all this information and discussion, you will be able to make an informed decision on your plastic surgery. For informed consent to be valid, the person consenting must tick the following boxes:

  • Have the legal capacity to consent to medical procedures
  • Be voluntarily offering their consent
  • Be giving their consent to the specific procedure being discussed
  • Be adequately informed about all relevant options, risks, benefits, and outcomes
  • Have been provided the opportunity to ask questions and voice their concerns


Contact Professor Mark Ashton for a Collaborative Plastic Surgery Process

Here at Ashton Plastic Surgery, we care deeply about providing exceptional patient care. Our commitment to informed consent goes beyond our legal requirements and duties. That’s why all of our patients begin their journey by meeting with Professor Mark Ashton to discuss all aspects of their potential surgery and a second consultation prior to surgery or treatment. This includes covering their desired outcomes, any risks involved, and alternatives.

You will be given the chance to ask any and every question you may have before making an informed decision about your procedure. If you’re ready to learn more about how to achieve your goals, Professor Mark Ashton is ready to start the discussion.

Contact the clinic today to book your very first consultation.

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