Why are we still not Montgomery Compliant 4 years on?


“Let’s put paternalism in the bin”

Nadine Montgomery 4th July 2019


When I wrote my blog post a little over a year ago highlighting the implications for research nurses of the Montgomery ruling in 2015, I had no idea that less than 12 months later I would have the honour of hearing Nadine Montgomery speak at the NHS Resolution conference Conversations on Consent.

There is no doubt that the experiences of the consent process she went through when she was preparing to give birth to her baby should have been very different; however her tenacity in the pursuit of justice for her own family is not the end of her story.  She is passionate about ensuring that what happened to her and her son does not happen to others and the message she shares is one that must be heard by all who are involved in consent conversations.  Yes, to make sure others don’t go through the same but also because she has fundamentally changed the law on consent.

It was a big case.  7 Judges unanimously agreed that she was right and legally binding recommendations were issued.  A stark warning to the medical profession (and others who receive consent) that paternalistic relationships with our patients are something of the past and the relationship and conversation with the patient is a partnership based on the person in front of us – inclusive of the issues that they as individuals might attach significance to.

The conference was great – really positive discussions were going on, the workshops were interactive and well led.  I met many inspirational people who are doing all they can to improve patients’ experiences of consent (hi if you are reading this and I met you there) and I also learned what NHS resolution was (I’d never come across them before).

However, anecdotal stories shared showed that there are still pockets in the NHS, some of which seemed to be particularly deep, that just haven’t got to grips with this.  Stories of people feeling rushed with the constraints of time (despite the ruling being clear this was no longer an excuse) and some were experiencing a lack of support in terms of resourcing, clear guidelines and leadership in ensuring Montgomery Compliance.

I made some great connections, I learnt a lot and I really enjoyed the day *but* the 2 questions I am left with are:


  • Why, after 4 years have we still not got this right?

  • What are we not doing that we should be doing to ensure Montgomery Compliance across the board?




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