Review of our Consent guidance

Why are we reviewing our Consent guidance?

Good consent practice is at the heart of the doctor-patient relationship, but we know it’s sometimes challenging to get this right. 

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.

The review will make sure the guidance remains clear, helpful, relevant to doctors’ and patients’ needs, and compatible with laws throughout the UK.

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 our 0-18 guidance.

What’s happened in the review so far?

As part of our work we’ve:

  • Looked at existing evidence, including enquiries and fitness to practise cases, to identify key priorities for the review.
  • Gathered feedback from approx. 850, doctors, patients and partner organisations on the content and format of our current guidance.
  • Commissioned focus groups to explore doctors’ attitudes to consent and the challenges they face implementing our guidance in practice
  • Redrafted the guidance with the help of a Task and Finish group who provided expert input from a legal, medical, health, social care and patient perspective.

What’s next?

We will hold a public consultation and a series of face-to-face meetings in the coming months to seek views on the revised draft. We want to hear from doctors, patients and those responsible for healthcare, and medical education and training, to make sure our revised guidance considers a wide range of perspectives.

Please keep an eye on this page for more updates. 

If you have any questions about, please contact the GMC consent review team.