Front page of GMC document 'Shared decision making and consent'

The GMC has released its guidance on 'Decision Making and Consent' on the 30 September that must come into effect in services on the 09 November 2020.

The guidance details seven principles of consent and decision making that doctors must follow;

  • All patients have the right to be involved in decisions about their treatment and care and be supported to make informed decisions if they are able. 
  • Decision making is an ongoing process focused on meaningful dialogue: the exchange of relevant information specific to the individual patient. 
  • All patients have the right to be listened to, and to be given the information they need to make a decision and the time and support they need to understand it. 
  • Doctors must try to find out what matters to patients so they can share relevant information about the benefits and harms of proposed options and reasonable alternatives, including the option to take no action.
  • Doctors must start from the presumption that all adult patients have capacity to make decisions about their treatment and care. A patient can only be judged to lack capacity to make a specific decision at a specific time, and only after assessment in line with legal requirements. 
  • The choice of treatment or care for patients who lack capacity must be of overall benefit to them, and decisions should be made in consultation with those who are close to them or advocating for them. 
  • Patients whose right to consent is affected by law should be supported to be involved in the decision-making process, and to exercise choice if possible.

"This guidance is relevant to every health and care decision that you make with every patient. This includes decisions about treatments, procedures, interventions, investigations, screenings, examinations and referrals."

This important guidance links in with CPOC's own work on Shared Decision Making, find out more and view our resources.