Realistic Medicine is not about failing to offer treatments. It’s about ensuring decisions are made in partnership with people, helping them to make the choices about their treatment and care that are best for them as individuals.
Realistic Medicine is not about failing to offer treatments. It’s about ensuring decisions are made in partnership with people, helping them to make the choices about their treatment and care that are best for them as individuals. We asked internationally acclaimed scholars of medical and healthcare law to consider the implications of the Supreme Court decision for our work in Scotland on the implementation of Realistic Medicine. Having considered the Montgomery ruling, we believe in providing information transparently. Having open and honest discussions with individuals about the risks and benefits of different courses of action is integral to best practice. Our view is that more transparency and more meaningful conversations will lead to less litigation, not more.
There are a number of initiatives underway that aim to help us manage risk better. For example:
The 2017 Scottish Public Services Ombudsman report found that inadequate consent was the most common recurring issue in complaints they investigated. In response, the Ombudsman has provided guidance on how this can be improved locally. They suggest ensuring that a clear system is in place to guide clinicians through the consent process, and that the consent process encompasses a range of options – including the option of no treatment.
Giving informed consent is an important way of practising Realistic Medicine. That’s why we are committed to reviewing the consent process for patients in Scotland with the General Medical Council and Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. The GMC’s consultation on their revised guidance on consent is now open. The GMC are inviting people to comment on their draft guidance via their website, with a view to publishing their new guidance in late 2019.