Consent for paediatric surgery: what are the risks?

Suzette Woodward (Assistant Director of Patient Safety at the National Patient Safety Agency, London, UK)
Linda Franck (Linda Franck is Professor of Children's Nursing Research at the Institute of Child Health, University College, and School of Nursing and Midwifery, King's College, London, UK)
Duncan Wilcox (Consultant Urologist at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital NHS Trust, and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, London, UK.)

Clinical Governance: An International Journal

ISSN: 1477-7274

Publication date: 1 December 2004


A total of 63 parents whose children underwent urological surgery at a tertiary referral specialist paediatric hospital were surveyed at three times points: immediately after signing consent; two to three days after surgery (at discharge); and by telephone two to three weeks after discharge. The survey was to assess parents’ perceptions of the consent process and parental recall of information given about the surgical procedure and risks. Results demonstrated that despite the majority of parents being satisfied with the consent process, operation, aftercare and the subsequent health of their child, their recall of risk information was poor, with 60 per cent of parents unable to recall any explained risks of the operation. This study pre‐dated the introduction of the national consent policies and forms, but provides evidence which supports the need for this consistent approach across the NHS which emphasises the effective communication of risks and benefits in relation to proposed treatment.



Woodward, S., Franck, L. and Wilcox, D. (2004), "Consent for paediatric surgery: what are the risks?", Clinical Governance: An International Journal, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 216-221.

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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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