chapter  5
Consent to investigation: the role of information in consent processes
Pages 14

Introduction During the past decade there has been significant growth in the number of information leaflets available for patients. This has been encouraged by the concepts of patient empowerment, the Patient's Charter, shorter hospital stays and greater health awareness. Consumerism and the emergence of self-help groups have also contributed. These develop­ ments are contrary to the medical tradition of Hippocrates, in which telling patients the truth about illness was not considered to be in their best interests.1 In recent times, opposition to patient education has focused around the idea that such an approach will increase anxiety levels, raise consultation rates and prolong their duration. However, consent to procedures must be informed and risks must be acknowledged. Patients should be encouraged to get the most out of consultations by arriving with prepared lists of questions.2