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The consent process in radiotherapy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 December 2007

Keisha S. Robinson*
The Parkside Oncology Clinic, London, UK
Correspondence to: Keisha S. Robinson, The Parkside Oncology Clinic, 49 Parkside, Wimbledon, London SW19 5NB, UK. E-mail:


Over the past two decades The Department of Health has made the consent process one of its main focus and has issued numerous guidelines on how the process must be conducted in order to make it valid. This mandate has been in accordance with the new patient-centred health service, which has patient autonomy as its fundamental standard. This paper will critically appraise the consent process in a radiotherapy department against the Department of Health’s recommendations. The ethical and legal principles governing the process will also be discussed using guidance from medical professional bodies and reference to English case law. Additionally, the function of written consent and consent forms will be assessed in order to establish whether implied or oral consent has any role in radiotherapy. The paper found that to a large extent the Department of Health’s recommendations are followed in the radiotherapy department evaluated. One key outcome arising from this paper is that written consent is the most appropriate form of consent in radiotherapy; however the record of consent should not be solely confined to a consent form. Rather it is critical that adequate notes of all areas of the dialogue that took place during the consent process with the patient should be written in the patient’s medical notes.

Original Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2007

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