Confidentiality in Paediatric Practice

Whilst the general principles of confidentiality apply when treating children and young people, the situation differs as often a parent is present for consultations alongside the patient. Parents may assume that they have a right to be told everything about their child’s care. However, competent children and young people may not wish a parent to be present for all consultations, or for a parent to informed about proposed investigations, treatment or advice relevant to their health and wellbeing. Typically but not exclusively this relates to sexual activity, smoking/alcohol ingestion or recreational drug use. Help in management of these situations as well as issues surrounding access to medical records, sharing information, and disclosure without consent is provided in the 2017 GMC guidance.

GMC – 0-18 Guidance for all doctors 2007
See paragraphs 42–55 for general advice about confidentiality
See paragraphs 64–71 for specific advice on consent and confidentiality related to sexual activity

GMC – Confidentiality: good practice in handling patient information

We have suggested some additional educational resources on consent and ethical issues in our Resources section.


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