Who will the doctor ask to give consent?

This page provides a plain-English overview of the legal processes involved in planning ahead, as well as links to local information. To get advice about your individual circumstances it is recommended that you consult with one of the agencies referred to below or a legal professional.

Who will the doctor ask to give consent for my medical treatment if I am not able to give my own consent?

  • As of 1 July 2014, the Advance Care Directive Act and amendments to other legislation related to consent for medical treatment were introduced.
  • If you have completed an Advance Care Directive and appointed a Substitute Decision Maker as part of your Directive, that person can consent or refuse to consent to treatments for you.
  • If you had appointed a Medical Power of Attorney or Enduring Guardian before 1 July 2014, that person can continue to consent on your behalf.
  • If you have not formally appointed a substitute decision maker, the doctor needs to follow any specific instructions you have given about treatment in your Advance Care Directive.
  • If you have not completed an Advance Care Directive, legislation defines a Person Responsible as someone who can give consent on your behalf. The Person Responsible is described in the following legal order: South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (formerly the Guardianship Board) in brackets after it and then future reference as SACAT (formerly the Guardianship Board).
    • a Guardian with health care decision-making powers appointed by the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (formerly the Guardianship Board)
    • an adult domestic partner or prescribed relative with a close and continuing relationship with the person who is related by blood, marriage, adoption or Aboriginal kinship/marriage
    • an adult friend who has a close and continuing relationship with you
    • someone charged with your ongoing day to day care and well-being (e.g. Director of Nursing in an aged care facility
    • the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (formerly the Guardianship Board) as a last resort if none of the other options are available.

Links to local resources

To download the Changes to Consent Factsheet from SA Health, click here.

To download Information Sheet 9 Consent to medical and dental treatment for people with impaired decision-making capacity from the Office of the Public Advocate, click here.

Full information about Advance Care Directives, including links to a DIY Kit and copies of forms can be found on the SA Government Advance Care Directives website, here.


Step 4: Legally appointing someone to make health and lifestyle decisions