Shared decision making

A GP takes a patient's blood pressure

Shared decision making ensures that individuals are supported to make decisions that are right for them. It is a collaborative process through which a clinician supports a patient to reach a decision about their treatment.

The conversation brings together:

  • the clinician’s expertise, such as treatment options, evidence, risks and benefits
  • what the patient knows best: their preferences, personal circumstances, goals, values and beliefs.

Shared decision making is a key component of universal personalised care.

summary guide has been developed for people and organisations leading local implementation of shared decision making.

If you have questions about shared decision making, please email

About shared decision making

Shared decision making is a process in which people who experience a change in their health work together with clinicians to select tests, treatments, management or support packages.

Why is shared decision making important?

There are a number of key reasons for shared decision making. An understanding of these reasons may be useful for anyone looking to learn more about the process.

Decision making and consent

Shared decision making and consent are fundamental to good medical practice. The General Medical Council has developed guidance explaining that the exchange of information between doctor and patient is essential to good decision making.

Decision support tools

Decision support tools, also called patient decision aids, support shared decision making by making treatment, care and support options explicit.

Guidance and resources

A summary of key resources that can support implementation of shared decision making.