The British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) guidance ‘Guideline for obtaining valid consent for gastrointestinal endoscopy procedures’ states:
Patients may be referred by their general practitioners directly for endoscopic investigation. While general practitioners referring patients can be expected to understand the nature of the investigation, it cannot be assumed that they are sufficiently trained to discuss all the relevant risks and benefits with the patient. Thus, the organisation receiving the referral must put in place pathways to ensure that the referral is appropriate and the patient is adequately informed.
Previously, this process was termed ‘postal consent’. Although we endorse the provision of information to patients by post, we no longer recommend the use of this term as it implies that the consent process has been completed before the patient attends for the procedure. Provision of information ahead of the procedure by a number of means, including post, is recommended, particularly for direct access procedures, but patients must be given the opportunity for discussion either before or on the day of the procedure with confirmation of their consent by a person qualified to take consent on the day of attending.
This guidance is published in Gut, available at https://gut.bmj.com/content/65/10/1585. It can be downloaded from the BSG website. Sections 6.1.2 - 6.1.4 are particularly relevant and should be reviewed by endoscopy services.