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N Z Med J. 2003 Mar 14;116(1170):U355.

Patients' perception of the adequacy of informed consent: a pilot study of elective general surgical patients in Auckland.

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Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.



This study was designed to determine the adequacy of the informed consent process from the patient's perspective and in the light of published standards.


A pre-operative survey questionnaire was filled in during an interview with 77 patients before an elective general surgery operation. Forty two (58%) of the patients also completed a post-operative postal questionnaire.


The results show that there is a need for more specific information (including the nature of the planned operation, the alternatives and complications) to be given by the senior doctor undertaking the procedure and before the patient is admitted to hospital. This study has highlighted the importance of confirming that the patient considers that they understand and are fully satisfied with the information provided, and that they have been able to ask questions without any sense of pressure.


In giving voice to our patients' views on the adequacy of the informed consent process, this study has identified where improvements could be made in this important aspect of patient care.

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