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case study

Allegation of failure to obtain consent involving a vulnerable patient

Optometrist James’ story

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What happened?

James (not his real name) visited sheltered accommodation to examine an elderly patient, and subsequently prescribed the patient spectacles. Following the visit, the patient’s daughter made a complaint that she should have been consulted about the visit, and about the prescription of spectacles, so that she could have given permission for these to proceed.

The GOC triage team got in touch with James to ask for information to help them ascertain whether he had failed to gain proper consent which involved a vulnerable patient. They asked numerous probing questions about the nature and extent of the consent he had gained and gave him seven days to respond. James got in touch with our legal team at this point for advice as to how best to respond.

How we helped

We immediately set about establishing all the relevant facts and drafted a robust and detailed response to the GOC triage team on James’ behalf. Our response addressed all the concerns raised, citing legal and factual evidence in support of our submission that the complaint was without merit.

The outcome

The GOC closed the investigation at triage stage and did not progress to a formal investigation.