Confidentiality in Paediatric Practice

Whilst the general principles of confidentiality still apply when treating children and young people, the situation is complicated by parents often being present with the patient during consultations. Parents may assume they have a right to be told everything about their child’s care, however competent children and young people may not wish them to be present for all consultations, or for them to be informed about certain proposed investigations, treatment or advice. This typically, but not exclusively, 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 GMC guidance below:


GMC – 0-18 Guidance for all doctors 2007

See paragraphs 42–55 for general advice about confidentiality
See paragraphs 57-64 for specific advice on consent and confidentiality related to sexual activity


GMC – Confidentiality: good practice in handling patient information 2017

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