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Implications of the UK NHS consent policy for nuclear medicine practice

Greaves, Claire D.; Tindale, Wendy B.

Nuclear Medicine Communications: February 2005 - Volume 26 - Issue 2 - p 167-174

To comply with government policy on consent, the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals (STH) National Health Service (NHS) Trust introduced a new consent policy in February 2002. Verbal or written consent (depending on the level of risk) must be obtained prior to each study. The patient must be fully informed and given time to reach a decision. Consideration needs to be given to the following: to whom, when and how to provide such information and obtain consent. Each study type and patient circumstance needs to be classified according to risk. Consideration of the risks resulted in a local policy in which written consent is required for the following: therapeutic procedures, studies on pregnant women, studies in which pregnancy needs to be avoided, research procedures, cardiac stress for myocardial perfusion scintigraphy and intrathecal administration. Patient information leaflets have been updated with new information about the study and any risks. Information is now available for both patients and hospital staff. Compliance with the consent policy in a service department provides logistic challenges, but it is possible to fully inform patients in advance about their treatment, allowing them to give informed consent.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Sheffield, UK

Correspondence to Claire D. Greaves, Medical Physics (Nuclear Medicine), Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XX, UK

Tel: 01483 40 6708; fax: 01483 40 6702;


Received 7 July 2004 Accepted 25 November 2004

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.