Date of Submission

March 2007


Practice and law around informed consent in healthcare have undergone a revolution for the better over recent decades. However the way we obtain informed consent remains problematic and is imbued with irreducible but not ineliminable uncertainty. The reasons for this uncertainty are varied. The uncertainty is partly due to the conceptual opacity of important core concepts. The complexity of communication in clinical encounters is another. The role of autonomy, and the changing nature of the clinician patient relationship, have also contributed to this uncertainty remaining. This thesis is not a panacea for these difficulties. However there have been two quite profound revolutions in healthcare over the last decade or so, namely, the introduction of evidence-based medicine into clinical decision making, and the institutionalization of clinical governance and the application of quality improvement philosophy. I have examined ways in which these two 'movements' can help in reducing some of the uncertainty in the practice of informed consent.

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


405 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Arts and Sciences