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Original article
Pilot evaluation of parental and professional views regarding consent in neonatal medicine by telephone interviews and questionnaires
  1. Vimal Vasu
  1. Department of Neonatal Medicine, William Harvey Hospital, Kent, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Vimal Vasu, Department of Neonatal MedicineWilliam Harvey HospitalKentUK; vimal.vasu{at}


Objective The objectives of the study were to determine (1) parental and professional views regarding the type of consent required for common neonatal interventions and (2) whether there has been a change in professional understanding regarding the requirements of consent since the last UK survey in 2003.

Design Cohort study of (1) parents of babies admitted to a single-centre tertiary neonatal unit and (2) healthcare professionals.

Methods The views of 8 parents of former neonatal patients and 69 neonatal professionals were sought using online and telephone survey methodology regarding 20 neonatal interventions and whether implied consent, explicit verbal consent or explicit written consent should be obtained.

Results Agreement, defined as both parental and professional consensus on the type of consent required, was present in 12/20 of the interventions. Comparison between professional views in 2003 demonstrated a change regarding type of consent for 50% of interventions with a shift towards obtaining explicit written consent certain treatments.

Conclusions The study indicates areas of consensus that exist between parents and professionals regarding consent for common neonatal interventions and a change in professional views regarding consent since the last UK survey in 2003. These data might help inform the development of national guidance for how professionals should obtain consent in neonatology.

  • neonatology
  • ethics
  • clinical procedures

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors VV designed the study, obtained ethics approval, collected and analysed the data, and prepared the final manuscript as submitted.

  • Competing interests VV is a member of a recently convened British Association of Perinatal Medicine (BAPM) working group looking at the issue of information disclosure, communication and consent in neonatal medicine.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval East Midlands Leicester South research ethics committee (REC reference 16/EM/0152, IRAS ID 202806).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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