Consent to treatment

Explains your rights to consent to (or refuse) treatment, including what 'consent' means, when you can be treated without your consent, and how to make a complaint.


How can I challenge my treatment?

If you feel that you’ve received treatment that you haven’t agreed to, and you weren't in a situation where it was lawful to treat you without consent, there are generally three steps you can take to challenge this:

  1. Speak to someone informally. Depending on the kind of problem, you might want to try to resolve the problem first by informally talking to the person who is responsible for your treatment, for example your GP or your psychiatrist.
  2. Make a formal complaint. If raising the issue informally doesn't resolve the problem, you can ask that person or organisation for their formal complaints procedure. This will involve writing a letter outlining the problem and explaining what you would like to happen next.
  3. Make a legal challenge. There are different types of legal claims you could make. Which one you choose will depend on what you want to achieve:
    • A judicial review is a legal challenge to the way a public authority has made a decision or has done or not done something lawfully.
    • A clinical negligence claim is when you make a claim for compensation because the care you received from a professional was negligent.
    • An application to the Court of Protection would be relevant if someone needs permission from the Court to make decisions about your health, welfare, financial affairs or property.

For more information about each of these steps, see our pages on complaining about health and social care.

This information was published in March 2018. We will revise it in 2020.

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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