What is Consent and why is it important?
Consent is the giving of permission or agreement for a treatment, investigation, receipt or use of a service or participation in research or teaching. Consent involves a process of communication about the proposed intervention in which the person has received sufficient information to enable them to understand the nature, potential risks and benefits of the proposed intervention. Seeking consent should usually occur as an ongoing process rather than a one-off event.
Adults who have to engage with healthcare workers 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. It is therefore essential that valid consent is obtained for health and social care interventions. Unless specifically authorised to do so, acting without first seeking their consent may be violating their legal and constitutional rights and may result in civil or criminal proceedings.
We developed a short video about why consent matters. The video contains recordings of people who have used HSE services speaking about their experiences of consent in health and social care services. To view the video please visit the following link HERE.
For more info on the requirements for valid consent please visit the following link HERE.
What is the aim and scope of the HSE National Consent Policy 2022?
The HSE National Consent Policy 2022 provides one overarching policy to guide staff. The need for consent, and the application of the general principles in this policy, extend to all interventions conducted by or on behalf of the HSE with people in all locations. This includes social as well as healthcare interventions in hospitals, in the community and in day, respite and in residential care settings.
The HSE National Consent Policy 2022 was published in March 2022 and is supported by an e-learning programme for all staff which is hosted on HSeLanD. In December 2022 Part 3 Research was removed. The HSE National Policy for Consent in Health and Social Care Research is now a standalone policy and can be found HERE.
The most up-to-date version of the HSE National Consent Policy 2022 (v1.1) can be found HERE.
Easy-to-Read Version of HSE National Consent Policy 2022
In December 2022 we launched an Easy-to-Read version of the HSE National Consent Policy 2022.
Easy-to-read information is important for people with intellectual disabilities and people with other conditions affecting how they process information and for staff who support them. We hope that the Easy-to-read version of the HSE National Consent policy will help each person to know their rights and to make their own choices. Every adult should be presumed to have the capacity to consent on their own behalf and should be provided with relevant information in a way they can understand. The Easy-to-read policy document can be found HERE.
The launch event of the Easy-to-Read version includes contributions from a range of experts-by-experience. To watch the recorded video of the launch please visit the following link HERE.
Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 and National Consent Policy 2022 – Learning Needs Survey
The National Office for Human Rights and Equality Policy wanted to gain a better understanding of the learning needs of HSE staff to support the implementation of the HSE National Consent Policy 2022 and the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015. We developed a short survey to capture the learning needs of HSE staff to support the implementation of the 2015 Act and the HSE National Consent Policy 2022.
This survey is now closed. We are analysing the responses and will use this information to inform our training and education plan. Thank you to everyone who kindly took the time to contribute to this survey.
Training and Resources
The HSE National Consent Policy e-learning programme was developed to support staff in applying the HSE National Consent Policy 2022 in practice. The programme contains two modules:
Module 1: General Principles is for all staff.
Module 2: Working with Children and Young People is an additional module for staff who work with children and young people.
It is available on HSeLanD by searching for ‘national consent policy’.
About this webpage
This webpage is from the HSE National Office for Human Rights and Equality Policy. It aims to present information and resources relevant to the HSE National Consent Policy 2022 to help healthcare workers implement the policy in their work.
To view launching events supporting the National Consent Policy 2022, please visit Resources and Webinars sections for further information.
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Who can I contact for more information?
Elaine McCaughley, Senior Project Manager, National Office for Human Rights and Equality Policy
Shem Romanowski, Policy Support Officer, National Office for Human Rights and Equality Policy