Association of Anatomical Pathology Technology


AAPT & HTA Consent Training Day Report

AAPT council member Sam Goss reports on what proved to be a successful event for the AAPT and an indispensible one for it's members.

HTA standard C3 Staff involved in seeking consent receive training and support in the implications and essential requirements of taking consent.

This standard, from personal experience, has created some confusion and great debate surrounding what appropriate training in taking consent would constitute. Also, who are the appropriate people to be taking consent from relatives?

Historically it has been the responsibility of the Clinicians and sometimes Nursing staff. More recently this has been extended to Bereavement officers and Anatomical Pathology Technologists. When tasked with investigating this as part of our HTA licence requirements, I found that there were not any formal training programs that were recommended by the HTA and all other professions that have been given this task in the past were not trained specifically in taking consent. Most professionals I had spoken to had stated that they were put in the position due to the breaking bad news training they had received or because they had been working closely with the bereaved for some time. In my opinion this did not fulfil the requirements of training in consent and when looking into the evidence required to comply with this standard, it certainly did not fulfil the requirements for recording appropriate training or that that training was suitable.

Fortunately I am a member of the AAPT and had been aware that the association had offered training days in the past and that there was due to be a training day on 30/05/10. As my trust had come to the decision that we as APT’s and Bereavement Officers are best placed to be taking consent in conjunction with Clinicians, I was given funding to book two places.

Most people will be aware that I know the people facilitating the training and may see this as a bias report, but as someone who regularly trains multi-disciplinary groups I can honestly say that they gave clear, concise and organised training in difficult circumstances. The involvement of the staff from the HTA was invaluable as it brought credence to the day and I know that the AAPT are hoping that the HTA will be giving their stamp of approval for the format.

Both myself and my Lead Bereavement Officer found the day very helpful and like many others who attended, felt that it gave us confidence that there was very little that we were not already doing. I was able to take a few notes to enable me to adjust our standard operating procedures and will encourage the rest of my staff, who feel that they wish to get involved with the process, to attend the next session.

There were a few people who repeated some of the somewhat obstructive arguments about the HTA, it’s licence and standards that were aired at the HTA conference last year. This was responded to in the usual professional manner and the points that were deemed to be worthy of investigation will be investigated by the HTA members that attended. Unfortunately I think there was still a few instances of inter professional rivalry/paranoia which created a less than comfortable atmosphere on occasions. However, I don’t believe that this detracted from the important message and quality delivery of the day and it was good to hear that it was being recommended that only those who felt confident in doing so, should be taking consent.

Although I think the timetable could do with a bit of switching round (easy to say when your not the organiser I know), this was a well delivered, interesting and useful training day and I hope that the HTA see fit to recognise the hard work of all those involved and partner up with the AAPT.

Sam Goss FAAPT

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