We are a new charity being established in response to growing demand from parents who feel their healthcare decisions are not being respected by professionals. Parents should be able to make reasonable choices without pressure from doctors or unnecessary state intervention. Our mission is to:

1. Supporting parents in having their parental healthcare decisions respected.

2. Promoting understanding between medical staff, social workers, parents and other relevant persons.

3. Advocating for parents who feel harassed or are threatened with consequences in relation to their decisions.

4. Publishing guidance, information and advice.

We believe that most people act with good intentions and that the best approach to resolving conflict lies in fostering mutual understanding. Wherever possible we will do what we can to make the professional see the parent’s view and vice versa. Ideally both will gain a more balanced view on the situation, which will then also benefit others in the future. While this will not always be possible, it is a good outcome to aim for. Whether you are reading this as a parent or a professional, it is worth taking a moment to reflect on whether it may have become important to you to win against the other side or, in some case, even to get revenge. It takes honesty to admit this to oneself. As a third party we aim to diffuse and moderate but we are also very clear that we are there to support the parents.

Consent CIO has it’s name from the principle of valid consent in medicine. This is well summed up by the Department of Health in its Consent Guidelines:

It is a general legal and ethical principle that valid consent must be obtained before starting treatment or physical investigation, or providing personal care, for a person.

To be valid, consent must be given voluntarily and freely, without pressure or undue influence being exerted on the person either to accept or refuse treatment.

To give valid consent, the person needs to understand the nature and purpose of the procedure. Any misrepresentation of these elements will invalidate consent.

Failure to provide other relevant information may render the practitioner liable to an action for negligence if a person subsequently suffers harm as a result of the treatment received.

So, for consent to be valid, it must be given voluntarily by an appropriately informed person who has the capacity to consent to the intervention in question. We felt that this was such an important part of fundamental human rights in the UK that it was apt to call our organisation Consent. Legally, things are somewhat more complex when children are involved and we have published information for parents in this regard. We will leave you with a quote from a judgment by the UK Supreme Court in 2015:

The social and legal developments which we have mentioned point away from a model of the relationship between the doctor and the patient based upon medical paternalism. They also point away from a model based upon a view of the patient as being entirely dependent on information provided by the doctor. What they point towards is an approach to the law which, instead of treating patients as placing themselves in the hands of their doctors (and then being prone to sue their doctors in the event of a disappointing outcome), treats them so far as possible as adults who are capable of understanding that medical treatment is uncertain of success and may involve risks, accepting responsibility for the taking of risks affecting their own lives, and living with the consequences of their choices.