Children and young people

Children and young people: principles

Students should be able to demonstrate in practice an understanding of:

  • the duty to respect the rights and interests of children and young people
  • the legal and ethical aspects of the capacity of young people to consent to and refuse treatment
  • the respective roles of parents/guardians, healthcare professionals and the courts in decisions about the treatment of children
  • the ethical and legal issues in child protection
  • the application of the duty of confidentiality to young people.


Children and young people: teaching and learning

General

BioCentre Academic Paper search

Interactive case studies: waiting room 2, GMC. Consent and children, including: access to children's medical records; if a young person refuses treatment; discussing risks; and assessing capacity.

Family Law Reform Act 1969

Medical Ethics Today: the BMA’s handbook of ethics and law, second edition, BMA (2012). See chapter 4, 'Consent and refusal: children and young people'. 

Books

Jones, K, 2010: Hannah’s Choice, Harper True. A personal account by Kirsty and Hannah Jones, about Hannah’s illness with leukemia and heart failure and her decisions about heart transplant. Relevant for discussions about Gillick competence.

Films and documentaries

Girl, Interrupted (1999). Based on writer Susanna Kaysen's account of her 18-month stay at a mental hospital in the 1960s. (IMDB.com). 

Professional guidance

0-18 years: guidance for all doctors, GMC (2007)

Rights and interests of children and young people

Inside the Ethics Committee: Childhood Illness, BBC Radio 4 (2010). When should a seriously ill child have a say in their treatment?

Capacity of young people to consent to and refuse treatment

Wheeler, R, 2006. Gillick or Fraser? A plea for consistency over competence in children BMJ 2006: 332; 807.

Talati, E D, Lang, C W, Ross, L F, 2010. Reactions of pediatricians to refusals of medical treatment for minors J Adolesc. Health. 2010 Aug; 47(2):126-32

Media reports of the case of Hannah Jones who refused heart-lung transplant: 

Roles of parents/guardians, healthcare professionals and the courts in decisions about the treatment of children

Withholding or Withdrawing Life Sustaining Treatment in Children: A Framework for Practice, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (2004)

Critical care decisions in fetal and neonatal medicine: ethical issues, Nuffield Council on Bioethics (2006)

M Brazier, An Intractable Dispute: When Parents and Professionals Disagree, Med Law Rev 2005 13: 412-418

Re C (HIV test) [1999] 2 FLR 1004

Re OT (A Child) [2009] EWHC 633 (Fam)

Re D 1986 1 All ER 326

Re B 1987 2 All ER 206 

Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985

Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003

Re Wyatt [2004] EWHC 2247

The end of intolerability: The Charlotte Wyatt case in the Court of Appeal Foster, C UK Clinical Ethics Network Case Commentary 'Wyatt v Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Commentary on Wyatt v Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust [2005] EWCA Civ 1181.

NHS trust v B [2006] EWHC 507 (Fam). Notion of ‘futility’.

Child protection

Child Protection Companion (PDF file), Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (2006)

Child protection - a tool kit for doctors, BMA (2009)

Confidentiality Guide: Disclosures when a patient may be a victim of neglect or abuse, GMC (2009)

Duty of confidentiality to young people

Confidentiality and disclosure of health information toolkit, BMA (2009). See Card 8: Children and young people.

Best practice guidance for doctors and other health professionals on the provision of advice and treatment to young people under 16 on contraception, sexual and reproductive health, Department of Health (2004)

R (Axon) v Sec State for Health [2006] EWHC 37 (Admin)

'Gillick Rules OK: The Sue Axon Case' Foster C UK Clinical Ethics Network Case Commentary

Medical Protection Society resources

Factsheet: Parental responsibility

Factsheet: Safeguarding children FAQs

Factsheet: Safeguarding children