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Consent in surgery

22 June 2023
Volume 32 · Issue 12


This article will focus on obtaining informed consent from the perspective of a surgical advanced clinical practitioner (SACP). There are many considerations regarding obtaining informed consent and it is recognised that the duty of this role will vary within each NHS trust. This article will reflect on whether SACPs should obtain consent for surgical procedures.

Surgical advanced clinical practitioners (SACPs) are now considered core members of the extended surgical team (Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), 2018a). Health Education England (HEE) (2017) refers to advanced practice as the level of practice underpinned by master's level award or equivalent experience, as opposed to a distinct role (Leary and MacLaine, 2019) Mortimore et al, 2021). Correspondingly, the role and duties of an SACP vary between specialties and trusts. Within the authors' Trust, both qualified and trainee SACPs are rostered to undertake medical shifts comparable to core surgical trainees. This provides a flexible workforce, thus reducing instability of rotas, and enabling core trainees to meet their training requirements (NHS England, 2017; Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme (ISCP), 2021). Locally, duties include managing patients on the unselected emergency take, assisting in theatre and performing procedures such as incision and drainage of abscesses. This raises the question of whether SACPs can, or should, obtain consent for surgical procedures.

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