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Informed consent

What Are My Rights?

Watch this video below to learn more about what informed consent means for you:

This video is available in several languages - click on the link below:

What does informed consent mean?
Informed consent means your doctor has explained:

  • What treatment options are available to you for your condition
  • What are the expected outcomes for each option
  • What are the success rates and possible side-effects for each option

Elective surgery can not be carried out without your permission and full understanding of the procedure. If you feel surgery is your best option you are required to give your consent in writing by signing the hospital’s consent form.

For more details see our Informed Consent patient fact sheet.

What if there is information I don’t understand?
It’s is the doctors responsibility to explain things to you in a way you can understand. Questions to ask which may help you understand more include:    

  • What’s wrong with me?
  • What treatment are you suggesting?
  • What are the risks of the procedure?
  • Is there any alternative treatment?
  • What drugs will be given and what will they do?
  • Will they have any side effects?

An interpreter will be made available to assist you if you or your doctor request one.

How old should I be to give consent?
In most cases if you are under 16, consent from a parent or guardian is required. The exception is 14 to 16 year olds who may consent to treatment, if they are considered mature enough.

What if it’s an emergency and I’m too sick to consent?
If you are unable to give consent in an emergency your doctor will try to get a relative’s consent.  Sometimes in emergency situations surgery may have to go ahead without consent but this is rare.

What if someone is unable to decide for themselves?
If someone has a condition which prevents them from making an informed decision, their legal guardian will be asked to consent on their behalf. If there’s no legal guardian, the next of kin, spouse, de facto partner or carer can be asked to consent. Where there is no one to provide consent the hospital will contact the Guardianship Board on the patient’s behalf. The Guardianship Board will review the treatment options and provide consent for surgery if required.

What do I do if I change my mind?
You have the right to withdraw your consent for surgery at any time.

More information on treatment
For more information on conditions and treatment, including videos on what to expect when coming to the Eye and Ear, please visit our patient information section 

Further Information
If you have any questions about your consent, please speak to your doctor or go to http://www.healthinsite.gov.au/topics/Informed_Consent