Junior doctor and consultant contracts – get the latest update now.


Children and young people

Children and young people toolkit

Children's hand paint printsWe get a lot of questions about children and young people as doctors face ever more complex dilemmas.

High profile cases around child protection, access to sexual health services, and the vaccination of children highlight the sensitivity and difficulties doctors face in this area.

Doctors need to know when a young person is competent and what this means in terms of their ability to consent and refuse health care, and what limits are placed on those with parental responsibility.

This tool kit does not give you definitive answers for every situation but it identifies the key factors you need to take into account when making decisions and signposts you to other key documents.

It contains a series of 15 cards covering specific areas in examining and treating people in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland who are aged under 18 years, and in Scotland under 16 years.

Other cards identify factors you should consider when assessing competence and determining ‘best interests’, and sensitive areas including child protection and access to sexual health services.

All the cards refer to useful guidance from other bodies such as the General Medical Council and the health departments, which you should use with the cards. The medical defence bodies and many of the royal colleges also produce specific advice for their members. Card 15 lists contact details for organisations who will give you further advice.

The tool kit is copyright free and we hope individual Trusts, medical schools and individual health professionals will download and adapt it to suit their own requirements.

Card 1

Card 2

Card 3

Basic principles

Assessing competence

Parental responsibility


Card 4

Card 5

Card 6

Consent and refusal

Best interests



Card 7

Card 8

Card 9

Use of restraint to provide treatment

Children and young people's health information

Unaccompanied minors


Card 10

Card 11

Card 12 

Sexual activity

Child protection

16 to 17 year olds who lack mental capacity


Card 13

Card 14

Card 15

Compulsory treatment for a mental disorder

Research and innovative treatment

Useful names and addresses


Children and young people tool kit - full version