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The advice in this section is for general guidance only.
If you need more specific advice you can call one of our medico-legal advisers on 0800 716 646. They are available between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday and provide an on-call service for medico-legal emergencies or urgent queries 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. Alternatively you can fill out our form and an adviser will respond.
Are you obliged to disclose a 14-year old's record to his father, who is estranged from his mother? It's a question of parental responsibility and whether the child has capacity to consent himself.
Requests for medical information about a child from either of the parents after they have separated must be handled sensitively and correctly. Here we advise how to avoid the pitfalls.
You have the same duty of confidentiality to children and adolescents as you do to adults. This can pose a problem if a 15-year old suffers an ectopic pregnancy and doesn't want you to tell her parents.
Children age 16 and over are deemed capable of consenting to medical treatment, and in the same way are usually considered able to agree to the release of their confidential information.
GPs already play a vital role in identifying children at risk and should know how to respond if they suspect abuse is taking place, in accordance with local and national guidelines.
Injuries from weapons such as knives, guns or even crossbows can raise questions over confidentiality and a doctor's duty to contact the authorities.
Can I prescribe contraception to a 13-year old without informing her parents?
If a victim of domestic abuse has children, should I notify children's services?
Can an older teenager refuse treatment that would be in their best interests?
Does a divorced father still have parental responsibility?
What should I do if the parents disagree about their child's treatment?
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