New chemotherapy patient consent guidance launched


Recording of patient consent for cancer treatments such as chemotherapy is to be standardised across Scotland.


NHS boards are introducing guidance and forms, which doctors can use to “confidently explain benefits and to patients of their proposed treatment”.


Until now health boards had followed their own processes for systemic anti-cancer treatment (SACT), which includes chemotherapy and other treatments such as immunotherapy.


Changes had been called for by cancer clinicians across Scotland and the new guidance has been developed with Cancer Research UK.


At the start of the pandemic, oncologists were given the option of changing chemotherapy treatment regimes and using medicines normally deemed too expensive, after experts warned the outbreak had shifted the “balance of benefit to risk” for patients receiving chemotherapy.


Professor David Cameron, SACT Lead Clinician for the South East Scotland Cancer Network, sat on the group responsible for developing the new guidance.


“It’s great news for Scottish cancer patients that the same information and consent form will be used for a particular treatment, irrespective of where you are being treated in Scotland,” he said.


Dr Janine Mansi, Chair of the UK-wide group overseeing the development of the new forms, said: “Clinicians using these forms have commended their clarity, and recognise their use to confidently explain benefits and risks to patients of their proposed treatment.


“The forms are also a tool to improve the consistency of information between all healthcare professionals taking consent and their patients.


“We are delighted that Scotland has embraced this initiative, and working with the team from Scotland has enriched the content of the forms as we go through the three-year cycle of upgrading, and produce new forms for the remaining specialist groups.”


The new guidance and forms are now being introduced in NHS boards across Scotland and can be viewed on the Healthcare Improvement Scotland website.


by Henry Anderson


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