What should happen when a patient can't explicity consent to medical research being carried out on them?
Health and Disability Commissioner Anthony Hill will hold a consultation process this year looking at the current laws around informed consent.
By and large, Hill wants researchers to continue to get informed consent wherever possible, he says.
As Commissioner, he also hopes to help speed up the resolution of complaints in the high-stakes medical environment.
In serious cases a breakdown in communication can lead to a bad or even tragic outcome for the patient and their family, he says.