About shared decision making

NHS strategy and policy is working to ensure people and patients are well positioned to take an active and central role in the management of their health and care.

Using current, clinical information that’s relevant to their particular condition and all the options available to them, patients are helped to work through any questions they may have, explore the options available, and take a treatment route which best suits their needs and preferences.

Achieving this requires new relationships between patients, carers and clinicians, where they work together, in equal partnership, to make decisions and agree next steps. Shared Decision Making should not only take place at the care level, but also at the strategic and commissioning level, with patients involved in the co-design, co-commissioning and co-production of healthcare.

Implementing Shared Decision Making, and related interventions, may reduce the use of discretionary surgery, where clinically appropriate, ensure informed decision making, reduced unwarranted practice variations and achieve the right intervention rate, thereby reducing costs.