§ Mr. Corbett
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) whether he will list in theOfficial Report the medical treatments and operations for which a married or separated woman needs the written consent of her husband and the statutes under which this is required, (2) what proposals he has, in the light of the Sex Discrimination Act, to enable married women, whether living with their husbands or separated, to obtain certain medical treatment or operations on their own behalf without the written consent of their husbands; and whether he will make a statement.
§ Dr. Owen
There are no forms of medical treatment or operations for which the consent of the spouse of the patient is a statutory requirement. Health authorities have, however, been advised that, where sterilisation is proposed, the consent of the partner as well as that of the prospective patient should be obtained; and the advice of the Medical Defence Union to its members is that, where sterilisation is to be performed solely for birth control purposes, written consent should be obtained from the patient and also from his or her spouse when they are living together. Legal considerations apart, such consent helps to ensure that both partners fully share decisions on the methods of family planning they adopt and reduces the risk of subsequent regret by either partner.