The practical imaging aspects of the X-ray procedure

3. Patient consent

Patient consent is an integral part of the mobile X-ray examination and a legal requirement of practice4. Within general radiographic practice, consent is implied in that a patient would be requested to walk into an X-ray room and carry out instructions from the radiographer / RT. This would be somewhat different for a mobile examination where the radiographer / RT would bring the mobile X-ray unit to the patient.  Every effort should be made to ensure that the patient consents for the examination and that information is communicated to the patient regardless of their condition. Refusal by a patient to undergo an imaging examination should be taken seriously and follow local protocols. A mobile imaging request and a very unwell patient does not prohibit the need to ensure that adequate consent is obtained. A patient is within their rights to refuse an imaging examination if they have the capacity to understand the consequences of their decisions5. For unconscious patients imaging would fall within the care that they are currently receiving. An assumption would need to be made that if a patient was unconscious and being treated in a hospital that mobile imaging would be in the ‘best interests’ of the patient and that the examination can be undertaken.  For COVID-19 patients the monitoring of disease progression or response via chest radiography is likely to encompass a wide range of patients and the justification for imaging should be explained at every opportunity.

Consent information from Society & College of Radiographers