Standards for optical businesses

1.4 Patients can give valid consent to treatment

Why is this Standard necessary?

It is a fundamental legal and ethical principle that valid consent must be obtained at the point of care and throughout treatment. Consent reflects the right of patients to determine what happens to their own bodies and make choices in relation to optical appliances or treatment.

Patients can give explicit consent, or, in some circumstances, they can provide implied consent and both of these are equally valid. The GOC has further guidance on consent, including the differences between types of consent, on our website. To be ‘valid’, consent must be given:

  1. voluntarily;
  2. by a patient or someone authorised to act on the patient’s behalf; and
  3. by a person who is appropriately informed.

‘Informed’ means that the patient has had an explanation of what the healthcare professional is going to do and that the patient is aware of any risks and options applicable to them.

The support of the business is crucial to help individual healthcare professionals in seeking and obtaining valid consent from patients.

To achieve this, your business:

  1. Promotes the need for valid consent from patients;
  2. Makes information available to staff regarding the differences in obtaining valid consent in children, young people and vulnerable adults, and any legislation affecting the provision of consent in the nations of the UK in which they work;
  3. Supports staff in making an assessment of patient capacity where they are unsure, and encourages staff to document any advice they receive on making such an assessment;
  4. Recognises that implied consent may be given in relation to information-sharing with other healthcare professionals involved in a patient’s care, and refers staff to GOC consent guidance for further information on this.