The paper discusses how the Supreme Court judgment in Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board  has affected and will affect both the current and future formulation of professional guidelines in the context of abortion and informed consent. Montgomery signified a crucial step in the debate concerning the doctor-patient relationship and informed consent. Its widespread effects are here enucleated in what I have phrased as a ‘Montgomery calling’ which stands in the push towards a safeguard, even beyond the mainstream medicine context, of principles of medical partnership and patients’ autonomy. These two principles crucially imply that patients and doctors are no longer to be regarded as antagonists, but as partners striving for the delivery of the best healthcare outcome for the patient. This outcome should be also in line with patient’s needs and values. Montgomery was, in this sense, both following in the footstep of previous professional guidelines, but has also the potential to affect current and future policy approaches.
This paper seeks to critically analyse the most recent guidelines dealing with abortion and informed consent as proposed by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG), and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). In particular, it will use the concept of medical partnership and patient’s autonomy to explore whether these professional guidelines are or are not currently fulfilling the ‘Montgomery calling’. Furthermore, it aims to suggest ways in which this calling can be enhanced by future professional guideline.
Montgomery has wider implications which go beyond the mainstream medicine context and the law of negligence spectrum themselves. This judgment challenges also the current and future formulation of professional guidelines concerning abortion and informed consent and calls for further clarity in this field.