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[Editorial] After Bolam: what’s the future for patient consent?

“Patients are now widely regarded as persons holding rights, rather than as the passive recipients of the care of the medical profession”, declared the UK Supreme Court in the case of Montgomery vs Lanarkshire Health Board in 2015, affirming the patient as a subject and not simply the object of medical care. Before Montgomery, whether doctors reasonably communicated risks to patients about potential procedures was judged by reference to a responsible body of medical opinion (Bolam test), in line with the paternalistic model of medicine.

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