Safeguarding, ethics and consent

These resources aim to cater for the needs of anaesthetists working in all parts of UK and all speciality areas and within multidisciplinary teams.  While much of this guidance is already provided elsewhere we feel that the additional customised resources available here are especially relevant. We hope that it will be convenient to have this material available in one place, and that it will be used for everyday reference and CPD. Our intention is to update and check references and links at least annually and post new information as and when it becomes available.

The College has developed specific resources (including bespoke virtual cases) to help anaesthetists with safeguarding decision making, particularly in the perioperative period when physical abuse and/or neglect is suspected (see Educational Resources).

The purpose of these web pages is to signpost colleagues to relevant generic and specific guidance and every effort has been made to keep this up to date. Colleagues should also be aware of their local referral processes and contact details and should participate in regular safeguarding training. Guidance and language vary slightly across the UK as does the legal framework.

The RCoA safeguarding working party welcomes comments, questions or suggestions regarding the content of these pages.


A large multidisciplinary team were instrumental in drafting and editing the content for these pages. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved, from content authors to peer reviewers, your time and dedication is greatly appreciated.

  • Dr Kathy Wilkinson (Chair and Lead for Child Safeguarding), Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist, Norwich 
  • Dr Paul McConnell (Lead for Adult Safeguarding and Adult Consent and Ethics), Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Paisley 
  • Dr Hugo Wellesley (Lead for Child Consent and Ethics), Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist, London 

  • Ms Janice Barber, Senior Partner, Hempsons
  • Ms Natalie Bell (SafeguardingPlus Project Manager), Business Co-ordinator, Clinical Quality and Research Directorate, RCoA
  • Dr Liam Brennan, Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist, Cambridge
  • Dr Alistair Cranston, Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist, Birmingham
  • Dr Chris Danbury, Consultant in Anaesthetics and Intensive Care Medicine, Reading
  • Ms Sharon Drake, Director of Clinical Quality and Research, RCoA
  • Dr Lisa Gemmell, Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Paisley
  • Dr Hilary Glaisyer, Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist, London
  • Dr Deborah Hodes, Consultant Paediatrician, London
  • Mrs Mandie Kelly, Website & Publications Officer, RCoA
  • Dr Jacqueline McCarthy, West of Scotland Training Scheme, Paisley
  • Dr Jillian McFadzean, Consultant Paediatric Intensivist, Edinburgh
  • Dr Andrew McLeod, Consultant Anaesthetist, London
  • Dr Alison Mott, Consultant Paediatrician, Cardiff
  • Ms Sara Payne, Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists, Lay Reviewer
  • Dr Kerry Robinson, Consultant Paediatrician, London
  • Dr Jane Simpson, Consultant Paediatrician, London
  • Dr Sarah Steele, Consultant Paediatrician, Norwich
  • Mr Robert Wheeler, Consultant Neonatal & Paediatric Surgeon, Southampton

We would also wish to acknowledge that most of the references and links used in these pages originate elsewhere. We have endeavoured to include all relevant attributions and sought appropriate permissions wherever possible.