Your Right to Confidentiality

You questions answered:

Can I see a doctor or nurse without my parents if I am under 16?

Yes, you can, although obviously if you are unwell then we would encourage you to bring someone with you for support. If you want to talk about personal issues – contraception, unplanned pregnancy, STIs etc. then you do not have to come with your parents – you can come alone, bring a school friend or even your boyfriend. Doctors and nurses and all other staff follow very strict guidelines on confidentiality – see our section on “confidentiality” which explains this.

Will the doctor tell my parents or show them my medical records?

No, doctors and nurses have very strict rules on confidentiality and whom they share medical information with.

In exceptional circumstances, like when a doctor or health worker thinks you might be in serious danger, they might feel there is a need to pass information on, but, even if they do, they must talk to you first before they tell anyone else. This applies to everyone, no matter what age you are.

What if I'm under 13?

Government guidance for workers in England means that they are likely to be more worried about young people under 13 who are having sex and might think it would be in the young person’s interest to get some extra help from a social worker.