Mental health and the law

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7124.70b (Published 03 January 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:70

Parental consent to treatment is needed for those aged 16-18 who are incompetent

  1. Wai-Ching Leung, Senior registrar in public health medicinea
  1. a Department of Public Health, Sunderland Health Authority, Sunderland SR3 4AF
  2. b Bracton Centre, Oxleas NHS Trust, Bexley, Kent DA5 2BW

    Editor—Like many practising clinicians, Barker is under the impression that the upper age limit at which legal consent to treatment can be given by a person with parental responsibility is 16.1 In fact, it is 18, the age of majority.2 It is true that children who have attained the age of 16 and are competent can give effective consent to any medical or surgical treatment, and parental consent is not required.3 However, for young people aged between 16 and 18 who …

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