The law and practice of consent to medical intervention

HEYWOOD, Robert James (2006). The law and practice of consent to medical intervention. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

[img] Archive (ZIP) - Accepted Version
Available under License All rights reserved.

Download (27MB)


This thesis explores the challenging concept of informed consent. It is an empirical study investigated in a medico-legal context. The research combines the use of quantitative and qualitative research methods to analyse the different views of the parties who are actively involved in the consent process in both medical and legal settings.

The project provides a comprehensive review of the literature concerning the legal aspects of consent and information disclosure, critically analysing relevant case law and academic opinion. The problematic areas are highlighted and from these a number of research areas are identified forming the basis of the empirical inquiry. The thesis is then broken down into a number of individual studies incorporating a range of empirical techniques. These include:

  1. A quantitative study employing a questionnaire to evaluate medical students' knowledge and to identify what is important to them in respect of consent.
  2. A qualitative interview study exploring health care professionals' opinions on consent in primary care.
  3. A qualitative interview study exploring health care professionals' opinions on consent in secondary care.
  4. A qualitative interview study exploring patients' perspectives on consent.
  5. A qualitative observational study to assess how consent procedures operate in practice in secondary care.
  6. A qualitative interview study exploring consent litigation in practice from solicitors' perspectives.

Each project acts as a continuation of one another. The methodological position of the thesis is that knowledge is progressive and is accumulated as each study develops. This is achieved through the researcher being `situated' in the work and through continuous legal and sociological reflections. Accordingly, the findings are analysed and provide for a critical assessment of the law pertaining to consent and information disclosure. The project is a collaborative venture between the law and the medical profession and seeks to develop a clearer understanding of consent issues in practice. In doing so a number of problems are identified which have previously gone unnoticed and, as such, future recommendations for improvement are provided at the end of this thesis.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Jill Hazard
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2011 14:47
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2011 14:47

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics