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 practitioner.

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

  • If a person is not able to give their own consent for medical or dental treatment, the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995 provides direction about who can give consent and this person is referred to as the Person Responsible.
  • The legislation describes a hierarchy of persons that doctors should approach in turn to provide consent on behalf of another person. This hierarchy is:
    1. a guardian (either appointed by the person themselves as an Enduring Guardian or else appointed by the Guardianship and Administration Tribunal) who has the power to make decisions about healthcare; or if there is no guardian
    2. a spouse (this includes de facto spouses and same-sex spouses); or if there is no spouse
    3. an unpaid carer who is now providing support to the person or provided support before the person entered residential care; or if there is no carer
    4. a close relative or friend, who has a close personal relationship with the person through frequent personal contact and who has a personal interest in the other person’s welfare.

Links to local resources

To download a booklet about Person Responsible, click here

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