Helping doctors to work with patients and make decisions together

Our Decision making and consent guidance sets out the principles of good practice for doctors, to help them work with patients to make decisions about care together. Consent is at the heart of the doctor–patient relationship, and getting it right is fundamental to good medical practice.

As part of our work to update our Decision making and consent guidance, we launched a survey to find out what matters to patients when making decisions with doctors about their care. We received 599 responses, which along with the consent-related enquiries our Standards team receive, shaped our updated guidance. We also ran a number of focus groups with doctors who work in a range of specialties, in primary and secondary care, and who are at different stages in their careers, to explore.

To make sure patient and professional views are represented, we consulted on the revised guidance between October 2018 and January 2019. This resulted in 582 written responses, 317 of which came through a short survey of patients and members of the public. We also invited 100 people to take part in focus groups.

We also held 21 workshops and events around the UK with a wide range of practising doctors and healthcare professionals, to make sure the final guidance reflects the lived experiences of both doctors and patients.

Together, the views of patients and doctors are helping us to shape this guidance, which will be published towards the end of 2019. The clearer guidance will be easier for patients to understand and for doctors to apply in practice. And ultimately, it will help patients and doctors make decisions about treatment and care together.