Decision making and consent

The seven principles of decision making and consent

One

All patients have the right to be involved in decisions about their treatment and care and be supported to make informed decisions if they are able.

Two

Decision making is an ongoing process focused on meaningful dialogue: the exchange of relevant information specific to the individual patient.

Three

All patients have the right to be listened to, and to be given the information they need to make a decision and the time and support they need to understand it.

Four

Doctors must try to find out what matters to patients so they can share relevant information about the benefits and harms of proposed options and reasonable alternatives, including the option to take no action.

Five

Doctors must start from the presumption that all adult patients have capacity to make decisions about their treatment and care. A patient can only be judged to lack capacity to make a specific decision at a specific time, and only after assessment in line with legal requirements.

Six

The choice of treatment or care for patients who lack capacity must be of overall benefit to them, and decisions should be made in consultation with those who are close to them or advocating for them.

Seven

Patients whose right to consent is affected by law should be supported to be involved in the decision-making process, and to exercise choice if possible.