Working with doctors Working for patients

Review of our consent guidance

What’s happening with the review?

Good consent practice is at the heart of the doctor-patient relationship, but we know it’s sometimes challenging to get this right. Our guidance sets out good practice principles for making decisions about care, from the treatment of minor conditions to major interventions with significant risks or side effects.

Since it was last published in 2008, there have been shifts in the legal, policy and workplace environments. Doctors are telling us that increasing pressures and demands on their practice can make it difficult it to seek and record a patient’s consent in line with our guidance and the law.

We are starting work to update our Consent guidance to ensure that it is still clear and helpful, relevant to doctors’ needs, and consistent with the law.

Over the past few months we have been looking at the evidence to identify the main areas of focus for the review. We also want to hear from doctors, patients and partner organisations to gather comprehensive feedback so that the review is as effective as possible.

The section in the guidance that relates to involving children and young people in making decisions is out of scope for this review. Any feedback received on this will be considered as part of a future review of the GMC's 0-18 guidance.

What happens next?

As a first step, we asked for feedback on the content and format of our current guidance. The responses we received will help us to redraft the guidance. Our surveys for doctors, professionals and patients have now closed and we are analysing the results. 

Throughout 2017 we will work with a task and finish group made up of members representing a range of perspectives including legal, medical, health, social care, and patient representatives to redraft the guidance. You can see the members of our Task and Finish group and find out about them.

Once the guidance is redrafted we will hold a public consultation to get feedback on the revised draft. We expect the public consultation to launch towards the end of 2017. 

Please keep an eye on this review page for more updates. If you have any questions about the review, please contact the GMC consent team at gmcconsent@gmc-uk.org.