Seeking sexual health advice and contraception as a young person can be challenging and stressful. You may have some concerns particularly regarding privacy, at the Practice we always put patients safety and privacy first. If you are over 16, you can consent to medical treatment or advice without your parent’s knowledge or consent. If you are younger than 16, you may still be able to get access to treatment or advice without your parent’s consent or in some cases, knowledge. The practice follows the principles and precedent set out by Gillick competence and the Fraser guidelines.
The Gillick competence must be considered if a person younger than 16 years old wishes to receive treatment without parents / carers consent and sometimes knowledge.
To assess Gillick Competence, professionals need to consider the following:
- The age, maturity and mental capacity of the individual
- How well they understand the issues and any potential long term impacts and the advantages and disadvantages of the treatment. This includes their comprehension of the risks and consequences that may be a result of their decision.
- How they receive advice and information and their understanding of the advice that has been given to them.
- Their ability to explain and rationalise the decision they want to take.
The Fraser guidelines are specific to the provision of, and advice relating to, contraception and sexual health to persons younger than 16 years old. They may also be applied to the treatment of STIs and the termination of a pregnancy.
For professionals using the guideline, they should be satisfied of the following criteria:
- The patient cannot be persuaded to inform their parents/carers that they are seeking this treatment/advice.
- The patient understands all the information and advice they have been given.
- It is likely to be detrimental to the patient’s health (physical or mental) if they do not receive the treatment or advice.
- Receiving the treatment or advice without parent’s/carer’s consent is in the best interest of the patient.
- It is likely the patient will continue to have sex regardless of whether they receive the advice/treatment.