Teenagers and Young People
We aim to offer services which are ‘teenage-friendly’. In summary, this means that:
We welcome teenagers and aim to put them at ease when they come to the practice
We can assure teenagers that confidentiality will be maintained if aged 12-16, and they ask to keep details of their consultations confidential or if they consult us about potentially sensitive issues
Teenagers are welcome to see a Doctor on their own if they wish and are aged 12-16. We would however advise them to come with an adult where possible.
Children and young people - Consent to treatment
Like adults, young people (aged 16 or 17) are presumed to have sufficient capacity to decide on their own medical treatment, unless there's significant evidence to suggest otherwise.
Children under the age of 16 can consent to their own treatment if they're believed to have enough intelligence, competence and understanding to fully appreciate what's involved in their treatment. This is known as being Gillick competent.
Otherwise, someone with parental responsibility can consent for them.
This could be:
- the child's mother or father
- the child's legally appointed guardian
- a person with a residence order concerning the child
- a local authority designated to care for the child
- a local authority or person with an emergency protection order for the child
A person with parental responsibility must have the capacity to give consent.
If a parent refuses to give consent to a particular treatment, this decision can be overruled by the courts if treatment is thought to be in the best interests of the child.
By law, healthcare professionals only need 1 person with parental responsibility to give consent for them to provide treatment.
In cases where 1 parent disagrees with the treatment, doctors are often unwilling to go against their wishes and will try to gain agreement.
If agreement about a particular treatment or what's in the child's best interests cannot be reached, the courts can make a decision.
In an emergency, where treatment is vital and waiting for parental consent would place the child at risk, treatment can proceed without consent.
When consent can be overruled
If a young person refuses treatment, which may lead to their death or a severe permanent injury, their decision can be overruled by the Court of Protection.
This is the legal body that oversees the operation of the Mental Capacity Act.
Information taken from www.nhs.uk