Decision making and consent: a public consultation on our guidance. Short questionnaire for doctors and other healthcare professionals


1. Welcome

Decision making and consent – tell us what you think

Good communication and decision making are at the heart of the doctor-patient relationship. But we know it can be challenging to get it right.

Our Consent guidance (originally published in 2008) explains the good practice principles for making decisions about care, from the treatment of minor conditions to major interventions with significant risks or side effects.

Our guidance applies to all doctors registered with us, whatever their grade, specialty or UK location, so it is necessarily high level. It’s important that it represents common ground between the profession, public and service providers established through extensive consultation. It must also reflect how individual patients, carers and members of the public experience healthcare - particularly those with unequal access to care or with significant needs, such as patients with impaired capacity.

We’ve worked with a group of doctors, patients, and other health and care professionals to update our guidance, to make sure it’s still clear, consistent with the law across the UK and easy for doctors to refer to and use.

What have we done so far?

We’ve gathered evidence through our own and commissioned research as well as engagement, to understand what issues to address. And we’ve redrafted the guidance to:
  • focus on how doctors can support patient decision making and involve patients in decisions about their care as far as possible
  • focus on the importance of doctors finding out what is meaningful for their patients, and helping them explore the different options
  • include practical suggestions and examples to explain how the principles apply
  • make it more accessible by referring less to the law and more to the principles on which the law is based.

You can read more about the review, and access the draft guidance, on our website.

How do I take part?

​We welcome responses from anyone with a view on the draft guidance, but have developed this short questionnaire for doctors and other health and care professionals who may not have time to review the guidance in detail.

There are 21 questions in total (11 on the guidance and 8 on your role and the wider consultation process). You don’t have to answer all of them, but we value your feedback, so please complete as many as you can. We’ve highlighted what we think will be of most interest to you, but of course you can also tell us about anything else related to this guidance update, including if you have read our revised guidance.

Other versions
  • If you’re responding on behalf of an organisation and/or have a detailed working knowledge of the policy, practice and law around consent, we recommend that you respond using the full questionnaire.
  • If you’re a patient, carer or member of the public with views on decision making and consent, we’ve developed a short questionnaire that doesn’t require you to have read the guidance.
You can respond by completing this survey ​or you can download a writable PDF (using Adobe) version of the questionnaire from our consultation website and send your completed response by:
  • email to or
  • post to Consent consultation, Standards and Ethics Team, General Medical Council, Regents Place, 350 Euston Road, London NW1 3JN.

You can also ask for print versions of the guidance and questionnaires using these contact details. If you need the consultation documents in Welsh, or in another format or language, call us on 0161 923 6602 or email us at

This consultation runs from 24 October 2018 to 23 January 2019.

We aim to publish a final version of the guidance in 2019, but the date depends on the outcomes of this consultation.