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Nhs Treatment (Age Of Consent)

Volume 408: debated on Thursday 3 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the age of consent is far agreeing to NHS treatment. [122387]

People aged 16 or 17 are entitled to consent to their own medical treatment and any ancillary procedures involved in that treatment, such as an anaesthetic. As for adults, consent will be valid only if it is given voluntarily by an appropriately informed patient capable of consenting to the particular intervention.For children under 16, following the case of Gillick, the courts have held that children who have sufficient understanding and intelligence to enable them to understand fully what is involved in a proposed intervention will also have the capacity to consent to that intervention.Detailed guidance on the law on consent in England was set out in the Department's "Reference Guide to Consent for Examination and Treatment", published in March 2001. The Department has also made available information leaflets for health professionals and for patients on consent in relation to children and young people. These and other related documents are available on the Departments' website at consent.