Department of Health

Consent to medical treatment – psychiatric

Key messages

  • A person must be presumed to have the capacity to give informed consent.
  • Consent must be sought to any psychiatric or non-psychiatric treatment.
  • It is possible for a person under eighteen to give consent if they are deemed to possess sufficient intelligence and maturity.

All people are presumed to have capacity to give informed consent to treatment, including psychiatric treatment, regardless of their age or legal status under the Mental Health Act 2014, and a person must give informed consent to any treatment.

Presumption of capacity

A person must be presumed to have capacity to make decisions about their own treatment.

A person gives informed consent if they:

  • have capacity to give informed consent to the treatment or medical treatment proposed
  • have been given adequate information to enable them to make an informed decision
  • have been given a reasonable opportunity to make the decision
  • have given consent freely, without undue pressure or coercion by any other person
  • have not withdrawn consent or indicated any intention to withdraw consent.

Reviewed 29 May 2015


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