The updated guidance focuses on the importance of communication, personalised conversations, and doctors and patients making decisions about treatment and care together.
We’ve restructured it and made it clearer, so it’s easier for doctors to apply in practice. And we’ve provided more advice, including steps to follow when making decisions in different circumstances.
The guidance reflects the law, policy and healthcare settings in all four countries of the UK.
Tell us what matters to you
The consultation is open until Wednesday 23 January 2019 and there are several ways you can take part.
- Full questionnaire for medical and lay professionals (approx #22 questions) – aimed at those with a detailed working knowledge of the policy, practice and law around consent. You’ll need to read the guidance to answer the questions.
- A survey for doctors and other healthcare professionals (approx #21 questions) – aimed at those with a detailed working knowledge of the issues, but who may not have time to respond to the full questionnaire.
- A survey for patients, carers and members of the public (approx #14 questions)– aimed at those who may not be familiar with our guidance, but will have views on good consent practice.
Accessing the consultation in other languages and formats
We can provide paper copies and other formats (such as large print) on request. The consultation documents are also available in Welsh.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
If you have any questions about the review or consultation please contact our Consent review team on email@example.com or 020 7189 5404.
If you’d like to submit a consultation response in hardcopy please send it to: Consent Review Team, General Medical Council, 350 Euston Road, London NW1 3JN.
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.
We’ve worked with our Task and Finish group who provided expert input from a legal, medical, health, social care and patient perspective to review the evidence.
We’ve now redrafted our 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.
Why are we updating the guidance?
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 to seek and record a patient’s consent in line with our guidance and the law.
We want to support doctors and patients to have meaningful conversations and to make shared decisions. Therefore we have updated the guidance to ensure that it is still clear and helpful, relevant to doctors’ needs, and consistent with the law.
We want the final guidance to be shaped by doctors on the medical front line, patients, and healthcare organisations. It’s therefore vital that we hear as many views as possible.
Job: Research Assistant in Law and Healing Reflecting on English Medico-Legal History and why it Matters at University of Manchester3 September 2018
Job Reference : HUM-12583Location : Oxford Road, ManchesterClosing Date : 01/10/2018Salary : £26,495 to £30,688 per annumEmployment Type : Fixed TermFaculty / Organisational Unit : HumanitiesDivision : Centre for Social Ethics and PolicyHours Per week : Full TimeContract Duration : Starting October 2018 until 30 September 2019
A research assistant is sought at Grade 5.3 to assist in the research funded by a Leverhulme Trust Emeritus Fellowship which has been awarded to Professor Margot Brazier. No DBS will be required. The research is desk based and archival.
The research will focus on:
Completion of my monograph Law and Healing: A History of a Stormy Marriage.
Further research into legal and ethical ‘lessons’ arising from a critical analysis of the regulation of midwives in the 16th to 18th centuries and the prototype for codes of professional ethics to be found therein.
Further research into the gradual rise of judicial deference to doctors and the era of Bolamisation from 1858 to 1998•
Friday 21 April 2017
Royal Society of Medicine
1 Wimpole Street
Improving patient safety, by means of a reduction of medical errors, has been a major focus of attention over the past several years. This one-day meeting will review progress to date and consider how further progress can be made. Speakers include Professor Terence Stephenson, Chairman of the General Medical Council and Mr David Sellu, who went to prison on a charge of gross negligence manslaughter.
The ways and means of turning back the tide of litigation against doctors will be debated as well as the appropriateness of the use of criminal prosecution of surgeons for “gross negligence manslaughter”.
Further details including the agenda and how to register are available here.
Seminar: Nervous Shock and the Chameleon Nature of English Judicial Decisions in Australian Legislation22 November 2016
IALS Legal History Seminar
02 Dec 2016, 18:00 to 20:00
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR
Professor Mark Lunney, University of New England, Nervous Shock and the Chameleon Nature of English Judicial Decisions in Australian Legislation: Section 4 of the ‘Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1944’ (NSW)
This event is free but advance booking is requested.
Organised in association with the London Legal History seminar.
Date & Venue
27 June 2013
School of Law Sheffield, UK
- 30 specialist speakers and discussants
- Access to papers and resources
- Time to network and share your research
- Lunch and refreshments included
Panel 1: International experiences of markets in health
Panel 2: Markets and market failures – a more domestic perspective
Panel 3: Impact on vulnerable groups
Panel 4: Capacity building post the 2011 Report (Innovation, Health and Wealth) and 2012 Act
Panel 5: Medical malpractice in a post-2012 context
Standard Rate – £75.00 | Student Rate – £50.00
Doctor – Tell Me The Truth
BBC Radio 4, Monday 20 and 27 February 2012, 20.00-20.30. I expect episode 1 will be available via the iPlayer shortly
Each year between 45,000 and 98,000 Americans die because of the treatment they receive in hospital. In Doctor, Tell Me The Truth, Professor James Reason discovers how encouraging doctors to admit their mistakes has improved patient safety. He hears from Rick Boothman and Darrell Campbell at the University of Michigan, the creators of a programme where doctors have to be open about their errors. They describe the previous ‘deny-and-defend’ attitude in which the hospital would stonewall any complaints made against them and contrast this with the present system in which investigations into errors can be started even before the patient comes round from their anaesthetic. We hear moving stories about face-to-face apologies from patients, doctors and lawyers.
In the second part of Doctor Tell Me The Truth Prof Reason asks whether the University of Michigan programme could work in the NHS. Peter Walsh from Action Against Medical Accidents tells him of cases where doctors have been prevented from admitting their mistakes at the insistence of their managers. He introduces us to ‘Robbie’s Law’, named after a boy who died as a result of medical malpractice, a piece of proposed legislation now being examined in the House of Lords which would require all NHS hospitals to adopt an open disclosure policy. Academics David Studdert and Alan Kalachian ask whether such a policy is legally enforceable or even desirable. Sir Liam Donaldson, a former Chief Medical Officer, tells us of his attempts to promote openness in the NHS and we hear from Robbie Powell’s father who tells us that his twenty year legal battle could have been avoided if the doctors had only admitted their mistakes and apologised.
BBC Radio 4, File on Four, available now via the iPlayer
“Success of the Government’s proposed NHS reforms in England rests on family doctors. GPs will be responsible for commissioning treatment for their patients, and managing the £80 billion NHS budget. But how much do we know about the effectiveness and value for money offered by doctors in General Practice? Gerry Northam reports.”