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Making decisions about my treatment and care

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This section explains what information and support you should expect from your healthcare team when making decisions about your treatment and care.


The information in this section applies to people living in England and Wales. There are different laws that help people make decisions about treatment and care in Scotland and Northern Ireland.


1.1 What is capacity?

Capacity is the ability to make a decision for yourself. The law says that people must be assumed to have capacity unless it’s proven otherwise.

1.2 Giving consent for treatment

You must give your consent before you can be given treatment.

1.3 Understanding my treatment and getting a second opinion

Your doctor should give you all the information you need to make a decision about your treatment and care. You’re also entitled to a second opinion.

1.4 Refusing or requesting treatment

You have the right to refuse treatment as long as you have capacity to do so. You can also request treatment, but your doctor must agree that it’s medically appropriate for you.

1.5 Confidentiality and accessing health records

Your doctor can only share information about your health with your loved ones with your permission. You also have the right to access your health records.

1.6 Making a complaint about my treatment or care

If you’re not happy with the care you’ve received, you can make a complaint to your healthcare provider.