The second half of the consultation is where decisions are made and future management agreed. We argue that this part of the clinical interaction has been 'neglected' during a time when communication skill development has been focused on uncovering and matching agendas. There are many factors, such as the increasing access to information and the emphasis on patient autonomy, which have led to the need to give more attention to both the skills and the information required to appropriately involve patients in the decision-making process. This analysis, based on a literature review, considers the concept of 'shared decision-making' and asks whether this approach is practical in the primary care setting. This study, and our ongoing research programme, indicates that future developments in this area depend on increasing the time available within consultations, require improved ways of communicating risk to patients, and an acquisition of new communication skills.