In some cases, issues or disputes arise around consent to medical treatment decisions that have been made.
Types of issues or disputes that arise
Some of the issues or disputes that arise around consent to medical treatment decisions 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 decision
- the potential advantages or disadvantages of the proposed or requested medical treatment
- whether the proposed treatment is in the best interests of the relevant person’s health and wellbeing
- whether, and in what circumstances, a person responsible can refuse to give consent to health care/medical treatment or life sustaining treatment.
What can SACAT do?
- resolve disputes arising about a consent to medical treatment decision
- give a declaration or direction about an issue arising about a consent to medical treatment decision
- review a consent to treatment matter dealt with by the Public Advocate at mediation.
SACAT does not:
- resolve disputes about the treatment of a person for mental illness under the Mental Health Act or about prescribed medical treatment or about a certain type of prescribed psychiatric treatment (being neurosurgery) in the case of mental illness
- give a declaration or direction about an issue arising about the treatment of a person for mental illness under the Mental Health Act or about prescribed medical treatment or about a certain type of prescribed psychiatric treatment (being neurosurgery) in the case of mental illness.
When to apply to SACAT for a declaration, direction or review
Where there are disputes you should first seek the assistance of the Public Advocate to mediate the matter.
You can then apply to SACAT to resolve a dispute by way of declaration or direction if required.
If the Public Advocate has resolved a matter by mediation you can apply to SACAT for a review of the Public Advocate’s mediation decision.
Who can apply?
The following can apply to SACAT for a review of a matter mediated by the Public Advocate or to seek a declaration or direction about a treatment decision:
- a parent or guardian of a child
- a person responsible for a person with impaired decision making capacity
- a medical practitioner providing or wishing to provide the relevant medical treatment
- any person who satisfies SACAT that they have a proper interest in the particular matter
Right to review of a SACAT decision
There is a right to a review of a SACAT decision to make a declaration or direction in relation to a ‘consent to medical treatment’ decision.
See Review of consent to medical treatment decisions for more information.