Skip to main content

Children (Medical Procedures)

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 6 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health which types of medical procedure may be provided to children under 16 years of age by a medical practitioner (a) without the consent of their parent or guardian and (b) where such consent can be waived by the medical practitioner; and if she will make a statement. (80195)

Valid consent to treatment is central to all forms of healthcare, from providing personal care to undertaking major surgery. If a young person has the capacity to give consent for themselves then health professionals should seek consent directly from them. If a young person does not have capacity then consent should be sought from someone with parental responsibility.

In cases of life-threatening emergency where consultation with a person with parental responsibility is impossible, the courts have stated that doubt should be resolved in favour of the preservation of life. In such cases a health professional could undertake treatment to preserve life or prevent serious damage to health without consent.