Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide
Consumer Engagement - Informed Consent

Consumer and Community Engagement

Informed Consent

An honest look at informed consent in healthcare

What is Informed Consent?

You can agree to a procedure or treatment once it has been explained to you. The person explaining the procedure or treatment must tell you why it is needed, what the risks are to you, and what the expected benefit to you is. You also must have the chance to have all your questions answered. Once this has happened, you can make the choice to say yes or no to the procedure or treatment.

Who can give consent?

In South Australia, people who are aged 16 years or older can give consent for a medical procedure or treatment, so long as they can understand what the procedure is going to be, what the risks are, and the expected benefit.

If a person is under 16 years old, then consent is given by parents or guardian for the young person.

In some cases, the young person may have a special care circumstance. In these cases, there are ways that consent can be given:

Link iconDepartment for Child Protection – Who can say OK – Health

Questions to ask in order to be informed about procedures and treatments

  • What happens during this treatment?
  • Why do you suggest this treatment?
  • How will this treatment make my condition better?
  • How long will I take to recover from this procedure?
  • What else could I do to make my condition better? Why aren't these treatments the first choice?
  • What can go wrong? How often does this happen? What can be done if it does happen?
  • Do you have any information I can read about my condition and the treatment?

Other points to note about informed consent

  • If you are unsure about the treatment, you can ask to see a different doctor/health care worker for their opinion.
  • If you want an interpreter or cultural consultant, just ask.
  • You can change your mind, and decide not to go ahead with the procedure or treatment. Tell your doctor or health care worker if you have changed your mind and they will work with you to develop a new treatment plan.
  • Your consent is required to take photographs or make video or audio recordings of you.
  • In an emergency, urgent treatment can be provided to you/your child without waiting for consent.

last modified: 08 Feb 2021