Working with doctors Working for patients

Review of our consent guidance

NEW: Patient survey now live

We want to hear from patients to find out more about what matters to them when discussing treatment and care with their doctors.

Have your say and take part in the review of our guidance on consent.

Complete our short online survey.

Find out more

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 are asking for feedback on the content and format of our current guidance. The responses we receive will help us to redraft the guidance. Our survey for doctors and professionals closed on 16 January and we are now 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.

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.

Patient survey: Have your say

We’ve launched a survey to find out about patients’ experiences of discussing treatment and care with their doctors.

Complete the survey online to tell us what’s important to you. The answers we receive will help update the guidance and make sure it’s clear, relevant and helpful.

You don’t need to register to complete the online survey, but you’ll need to complete it in one session as you can’t save it and return to it.

Complete the survey in Welsh (pdf).

Alternatively you can complete a pdf version of the survey in English, or email for large print Word version of the survey, or to ask about other formats.

If you are using the pdf version of the survey, please click on the 'submit form' button once finished to email your completed response to us. Please note that if you are using Google Chrome you will need to save the completed pdf to your desktop, attach it to an email and send to

The survey is open until midnight on 27 March 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