Consent, Decisions, your rights and responsibilities

Information for young people, parents and carers

Who can give consent?

A young person aged 16 or 17 years old, can also make decisions and consent to their treatment without parental consent.
For children and young people under the age of 16, their parents, or those with legal parental responsibility, can make most decisions for their children.


Children who are younger than 16 can sometimes be considered capable of making choices about their own health, without needing their parents. We call this being competent.
This means that a healthcare professional will check if a young person can understand and decide about their own care. They want to make sure the young person knows what is going on and can make a good choice.

Parent and carerís role

Sometimes, parents and caregivers might feel left out when we suggest seeing their child without them or when getting their childís consent.
We will always ask the young person if it's okay for their parents or caregivers to be there with them. We want everyone to feel comfortable and safe.
Parents still have a very important role in their childís healthcare. For example, a young person may want to make a decision, but need the support of their parents or carers to help them. This is called a shared approach to decision-making.

What would happen if there were concerns about the decision a young person has made?

If a parent or carer has concerns, it is important they talk to the young person to let them know why they are worried.
If a healthcare professional is concerned, they will discuss this with the young person. They may also get advice from other professionals.

What happens when parents or carers disagree with a young personsí decision?

The healthcare professional must do what is best for the young person. This is called making a decision in their best interests.
The healthcare professional will do this by:
  • Listening to what the young person says
  • Listening to what their parents think
  • Consider how all this might affect the young personís health

Keeping information private

Keeping information private is called confidentiality.
All health care professionals must make sure information shared with them remains confidential. When children are young, their parents or carers need to know all the available information to make informed decisions about their childís health.

Decisions, rights and responsibilities

When a young person can make decisions about their health, they have the same legal rights as adults about confidentiality.

A young person who is seen alone will be advised by a health care professional that the information they share will be treated as private and can only be shared with a young personís permission or knowledge.
It is a good idea for young people to talk to their parents when making decisions about their health. Parents can be a big help and give support.
However, if a young person doesn't want to involve their parents, especially if it's a private matter, the healthcare professional might still talk to the parents about the general plan for treatment or procedure without sharing all the specific details. 
It's all about finding the best way to help the young person.

Exceptional circumstances when information has to be shared

 We always try to keep things private, but there are times when it's not always possible.
For example, if a healthcare professional is worried that someone might get hurt or needs help, they might need to tell someone else about it. This is because we must keep everyone safe and protected
Last updated07 Jun 2024
Working on it!