Children 'should be allowed to see doctors without their parents knowing'

CHILDREN should be allowed to see doctors without their parents knowing, experts say.

They could also get sent information via text, phone or letter under draft guidance being considered.

Health staff should “ensure information for children and young people is provided privately when appropriate, for example: without parents or carers present if this is what they would prefer”, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence document says.

The guidance aims to give under-17s more independence and encourage them “in making decisions for themselves”.

Parents are urged to allow children to “have part or all of an appointment without them being present if they prefer”.

Current NHS guidance states that once children reach 16, they can agree to examination or treatment just like adults.

Those under 16 “may still be able to give consent, provided they are mature enough to understand what is involved”.

Nice says poor experiences with doctors may cause anxiety and hamper treatment. Dr Paul Chrisp said: “We hope this will provide staff with clear guidance on how to engage effectively with younger patients.”

Guideline committee chief Catherine White said: “By placing babies, children and young people at the heart of their healthcare, we can improve not only their experience but also their health outcomes.”

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