Consent and Confidentiality
A pupil’s right to confidentiality will always be considered and this may determine how much information is disclosed regarding a condition and treatment (including to staff, parents, and guardians). Information regarding medication and health matters is confidential and will be maintained in line with the Stonyhurst Health Centre Confidentiality Policy.
Children over 16 years of age have the same rights to confidentiality and consent as adults. Under 16 years of age, children can consent to medical treatment if they are deemed to be Gillick competent. Medical professionals need to consider Gillick competency if a young person under the age of 16 wishes to receive treatment without the consent of their parents or carers or, in some cases, without the knowledge of their parents or carers.
Gillick competency is used to help health centre staff balance the need to listen to children's wishes with the responsibility to keep them safe. It is also used to assess whether a pupil has the maturity to make their own decisions and to understand the implications of those decisions.
We would always encourage a child to tell their parents and/or guardian or carer about the decisions they are making. If they do not want to do this, we would explore why and, if appropriate, discuss ways we could help them inform their parents or guardian or carer. For example, we could offer to talk to the young person's parents and / or guardian on their behalf.
If the young person insists on going ahead without the knowledge or consent of their parents and/or guardian or carer, we will assess their competency using the Gillick guidelines.
The Health Centre team would consider several things when assessing a child's capacity to consent, including:
- The child's age, maturity, and mental capacity
- Their understanding of the issue and what it involves - including advantages, disadvantages, and potential long-term impact
- Their understanding of the risks, implications and consequences that may arise from their decision
- How well they understand any advice or information they have been given
- Their understanding of any alternative options, if available
- Their ability to explain a rationale around their reasoning and decision-making