by Anita Puri April-08-2022 in Healthcare Law, Regulatory & Administrative Law

The HSE published its first National Consent Policy in 2013 (the “2013 Policy”) and on 28 March 2022, the HSE launched a revised National Consent Policy (the “2022 Policy”) to reflect important legislative and policy changes that have occurred since 2013.

The policy applies to all social and healthcare interventions performed by or on behalf of the HSE and applies to acute and community settings. The policy states that adults have a fundamental ethical and legal right to control their own lives, to make informed decisions on matters that relate to them and to decide what happens to their own bodies. The policy assists healthcare workers to ensure valid consent is sought from patients for every intervention; to support patients to make choices by providing relevant accessible information in a format that they can understand; to ensure that the patient has decision making capacity to provide or refuse consent; and to support patients who may lack decision making capacity.

The 2022 Policy revises and updates Parts 1 (General Principles) and 2 (Children and Minors) of the 2013 Policy (revised in 2019), however it does not amend Parts 3 (Research) and 4 (Do Not Attempt Resuscitation Orders) of the 2013 Policy.

Under the 2022 Policy, the core principles that are the foundation of valid informed consent and good practice remain unchanged, however it reflects crucial legislative and policy changes since 2013 including:

  • The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018.
  • The General Data Protection Regulation.
  • The Data Protection Act 2018.
  • The Freedom of Information Act 2014.
  • The Children First Act 2015.

Furthermore, the 2022 Policy has been amended to ensure that it aligns with the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015, which is due to commence in June this year.  The revised policy therefore highlights the will and preferences of a person who may lack capacity as opposed to what is in a person’s “best interest”.

For further information on the new legislation, or to discuss, please contact Anita Puri or any member of the Healthcare team at Hayes solicitors LLP. 

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