4.1 Medical Assessment and Consent


The following may give consent to a paediatric assessment:

1.2 When a child is Looked After under s.20 and a parent / carer has given general consent authorising medical treatment for the child, legal advice must be taken about whether this provides consent for paediatric assessment for child protection purposes (the parent / carer still has full parental responsibility for the child).
1.3 A child of any age who has sufficient understanding (generally to be assessed by the doctor with advice from others as required) to make a fully informed decision can provide lawful consent to all or part of a paediatric assessment or emergency treatment.
1.4 A young person aged 16 or 17 has an explicit right by virtue of s.8 Family Law Reform Act 1969 to provide consent to surgical, medical or dental treatment. Unless grounds exist for doubting her/his mental health, no further consent is required.
1.5 A child who is of sufficient age and understanding may refuse some or all of the paediatric assessment though a court can potentially override refusal.
1.6 Wherever possible the permission of a parent should be sought for children under 16 prior to any paediatric assessment and/or other medical treatment.

Where circumstances do not allow permission to be obtained and the child needs emergency medical treatment the medical practitioner may:

  • Regard the child to be of an age and level of understanding to give her/his own consent;
  • Decide to proceed without consent.
1.8 In these circumstances, parents must be informed as soon as possible and a full record must be made at the time.
1.9 In non-emergency situations, when parental permission is not obtained, the social worker and manager must consider whether it is in the child's best interests to seek a court order.


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