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Consent to treatment: patient preparing for an MRI scan

Using LEGO to support capacity and enable informed consent

LEGO has launched a new kit designed to help ease children’s anxieties around using an MRI scanner. This fantastic toy helps bridge the gap in understanding around what is going to happen, putting the process of an MRI scan in terms that a child can understand, facilitating their comprehension and thereby reducing anxiety around the whole process.

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Gillick competence. Teenager receiving injection from doctor.

Gillick Competence and the Fraser Guidelines

The Mental Capacity Act (2005) currently applies to adults aged 18 years and above. However, as with many things, there are specific areas of exception. One of which is known as ‘Gillick Competency’ (or Gillick Competence), and the related Fraser Guidelines. These two important judgements set out rules around when a young person is deemed competent to make their own decisions without specific parental consent.

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Elderly gentleman and young man in red hat smiling and enjoying time together. Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash.

Why are Mental Capacity Assessments so important?

Reflecting back upon my experiences to date, it is noteworthy that when I first started working in health care there was very little said about capacity yet there was a lot of emphasis said about consent, especially that of informed consent. Consent to treatment, consent to an intervention, consent to support with personal care, consent to speak to a family member, consent to take photos, consent to store information or share with the GP. The list is quite endless and is a staple of not just the health care system, but our society as a whole that has grown in importance over the years.

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