Sometimes difficult issues or disputes arise about the provision of consent to medical treatment for:

  • people with impaired decision making capacity
  • children under the age of 16 years.

These can include:

  • the nature or extent of the responsibilities of the person responsible for the patient
  • how to interpret the wording of an advance care directive, if there is one, to give effect to the wishes of the person who has prepared it
  • whether the person who requires the medical treatment has impaired decision making capacity about a particular consent decision
  • the potential advantages or disadvantages of the proposed or requested medical treatment and whether consent should be given
  • whether, and in what circumstances, a person responsible can refuse to give consent to health care, medical treatment or life sustaining treatment.

Those issues can initially be dealt with by mediation before you apply to SACAT.

Mediation by the Public Advocate

If there is a dispute, or advice is required about a consent to medical treatment decision, in most cases it is not necessary to apply to SACAT to help resolve the dispute or to seek advice.

The Public Advocate will initially assist in mediating such issues.

When to apply to SACAT

You can apply to SACAT to seek an initial declaration or direction or to resolve issues or disputes arising about a consent to medical treatment decision (not being prescribed medical or some types of prescribed psychiatric treatment (neurosurgery for mental illness)).

If the Public Advocate has not first dealt with the matter, SACAT can refer the matter back to the Public Advocate for mediation.

The Public Advocate can also refer a matter to SACAT if it cannot be resolved by mediation, or if it is more appropriately dealt with by SACAT.

There is also a right of review by SACAT of the outcome of the mediation conducted by the Public Advocate.

You should contact the Public Advocate for advice about any issues arising about a ‘consent to medical treatment’ decision before making an application to SACAT.