So, did you know the law has changed?

In March 2015, the case of Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board [2015] UKSC 11 redefined the legal relationship between doctors and patients.  

Many doctors were concerned at its implications. Some feared it placed too high an obligation on them in warning patients of the risks of treatment. Others thought the decision simply brought the law into line with current practice.

Two years on, we asked solicitor Paul Sankey to review its impact.

Doctor In Consultation With Female Patient In Office

THE NEW LAW SAYS: ‘The doctor is therefore under a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that the patient is aware of any material risks involved in any recommended treatment and of any reasonable alternative or variant treatments’

What was the decision about?

Mrs Nadine Montgomery gave birth to her first child, Sam, in October 1999 at a hospital in Lanarkshire.

There were three factors that increased the risk of injury to both mother and child at delivery:

  • She was diabetic;
  • She was also short, at around five foot tall;
  • Her baby was known to be large – estimated (and, in fact, under­estimated) at 3.8 kilos.