The General Medical Council has published new Decision-making and Consent Guidance, due to come into force as of 9th November 2020.

The GMC has updated its guidance on the consent and decision-making process, emphasising the right of the patient, where possible, to be a part of the process which identifies the treatment they will undergo.

The new guidelines aim to recognise the pressure under which doctors work whilst, at the same time, respecting and preserving the rights of the patient.

The decision about a patient’s treatment should be a shared process, taking into account the specific circumstances and needs of that particular patient and the impact which the treatment options may have. Medical professionals should ensure that patients, or those involved in the decision-making process on their behalf, are aware of the implications of the various available courses of action.

A failure to provide an effective consent process, ensuring that the patient is fully informed and in agreement with the final decision, may be regarded as substandard care and, where the patient suffers a poor long-term outcome, may justify a claim for compensation.

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