Working with doctors Working for patients

Consent: patients and doctors making decisions together

This guidance for doctors sets out the principles on which good clinical decisions should be based.

It expands on Good medical practice, which says doctors must be satisfied that they have consent (or other valid authority) before

  • carrying out any examination or investigation
  • providing treatment or
  • involving patients in teaching or research.

Doctors must follow all our guidance: serious or persistent failure to do so will put their registration at risk.

Read the guidance

The guidance in practice: learning materials

Case studies from GMP in Action. 

Mr Hartley Mr Hartley has had treatment for abdominal cancer but his condition is deteriorating and he is refusing further surgery. There is disagreement between his adult children, Clementine and Robert, about whether to continue with active treatment. Should the doctors accept Mr Hartley's refusal? And what can they do to help resolve the conflict within the family? Decide what the doctors should do.

Consent and UK law

As the law relating to decision-making and consent - particularly for patients who lack capacity - varies across the UK, doctors need to understand the law as it applies where they work (see paragraphs 62-63).

This guidance takes account of, and is consistent with, current law across the UK. The legal annex gives more detail about relevant common law and legislation, and links to further information.

Serious or persistent failure to follow this guidance will put your registration at risk.

Download the guidance