What is Shared Decision Making?

Shared decision-making ensures that individuals are supported to make decisions that are right for them. It is a partnership conversation between a clinician and a patient to reach the best decision about their treatment.

The conversation brings together:

  • The clinician’s expertise, such as treatment options, evidence, risks and benefits
  • What matters to the patient: their preferences, personal circumstances, goals, values and beliefs.

Why is it important?

Shared decision making is a one of the six approaches of universal personalised care. It is important as:

  • It is a legal requirement and healthcare professionals must take “reasonable care to ensure that the patient is aware of any material risks involved in any recommended treatment and of any reasonable alternative or variant treatments”.
  • It is intrinsic in Professional Codes of Conduct and Standards; General Medical Council, 2020; Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2018; Health and Care Professions Council, 2018.
  • Shared Decision Making has a NICE guidance surrounding it’s use in day to day clinical practice; part of business as usual
  • It creates a new relationship between individuals and professionals based on partnership Mulley et al, 2012.
  • People want to be more involved than they currently are in making decisions about their own health and health care Care Quality Commission Inpatient Survey, 2020GP Patient Survey, 2022.
  • Both individuals and clinicians tend to consistently over-estimate the benefits of treatments and under-estimate the harms Hoffman, 2017.
  • It has the potential to enhance efficiency and reduce unwarranted clinical variation Mulley et al, 2012.

Resource Hub

Preparing the public for a Shared Decision Making conversation ‘It’s OK to Ask’ outpatient letter appointment insert.
Preparing the Public with ‘It’s Ok to Ask’ messaging
NHSE has developed Decision Support Tools to provide evidence based information to aid and support patients and healthcare professionals to work in partnership to decide on the best treatment option.
Case Studies from the Centre for Perioperative Care

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Embedding Shared Decision Making in the Musculoskeletal (MSK) pathway
National NICE webinar with Nottinghamshire

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