Competency of gaining consent: a Foundation trainee ’s perspective in the North Western Deanery

Introduction The General Medical Council (GMC)1 and the National Health Service Litigation Authority (NHSLA)2 have strict guidance on how informed consent should be gained and how trainees should be supported when learning to take consent, however foundation trainees often feel vulnerable when expected to gain consent for a procedure they have little or no expertise for.

Objective (1) To examine the perceptions and confidence level of new Foundation year 1 doctors in gaining consent. (2) To look at the factors that favourably influenced confidence. (3) To outline the best method of teaching in gaining a valid consent of a procedure.

Method Questionnaires were distributed in 9 hospital trusts in the North Western Deanery and completed by 203 FY1s in the first 6 months of their post.

Result 71% had taken written informed consent, of these 43% felt they had been put in a position in which they were unhappy to do so, 33% were supervised and 16% were formally supervised. Confidence levels were increased by: supervision (Mean confidence 7.26 vs 6.58, 2 sided P value 0.0036); and formal assessment (Mean confidence 7.26 vs 6.64, 2 sided P value 0.0277). Respondents preferred the following modes of teaching consent: one-to-one session with supervisor (47%), organised tutorial session during induction (21%), and medical school (20%).

Conclusion Results show low levels of supervision and formal assessments in gaining consent, despite being key factors in increasing confidence. A mandatory Mini CEX or similar activity early in Foundation training could lead to better prepared doctors in gaining a valid consent.


Hiew K, Eyres G, Chauhan S , Ekta P, Haddock C, Heath R, Jawaheer L, Looi E, Rai. C ,Thampy A, Baker P.

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