Giving informed consent for treatment

Your doctor needs your agreement (consent) before performing any medical treatment. To help you make a well-informed decision that’s based on your personal values, your doctor is required to give you information about:

  • the proposed treatment and its benefits
  • other treatment options
  • possible side effects, risks and complications
  • likely out-of-pocket costs (if any).

Receiving and understanding this information before voluntarily agreeing to treatment (that is, without being pressured to do so) is called informed consent. You will usually be asked to sign a document indicating that you understand the information you are given and agree to treatment. If you are confused or need more information, talk to your doctor (Here are some suggested questions you can ask your doctor before giving your informed consent to treatment).

Adults can give their informed consent – or refuse it – if they have capacity. Capacity means they can understand and remember the information about the treatment options, make decisions based on this information, and communicate their decision. If you do not have capacity, another person may be able to make decisions for you.

Sometimes consent is not needed, such as in a medical emergency (e.g. the treatment is required to prevent death, serious damage to the patient’s health or significant pain or distress), or when the patient is unconscious or mentally incapacitated.

Consent from children and young people

As much as possible, involve your child in decisions about their care. Give them age-appropriate information, include them in discussions about their treatment, and encourage them to ask questions. Ensure that the health care team considers your child’s health care preferences.

Talk to a lawyer for specific information about consent and children in your state or territory. Australian law generally recognises that people aged 16 and older can make their own health care decisions, and the law requires doctors to obtain their consent before treatment.

As people under the age of 16 are legally considered minors, it’s usually up to their parent or legal guardian to consent to health care. However, some states and territories have laws that allow certain minors to make decisions about their own care.

The law also recognises that children become more competent as they grow up, and their consent and input can be sought on a case-by-case basis. For example, a 15-year-old may have more say in their health care than a child aged 11. The young person may be required to show that they understand the nature and possible results of the proposed treatment, and their decision may need to be supported by a doctor.

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Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

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To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
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Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

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Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
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Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in June 2019
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