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0-18 years: guidance for all doctors

This guidance focuses on providing care for children and young people, from birth to their 18th birthday.

It is for all doctors, not only those who see children and young people as patients, but those who see people who may represent a risk to children and young people.

See also our guidance Protecting children and young people: the responsibilities of all doctors.

It develops the duties and principles set out in Good medical practice and other explanatory guidance.

Doctors must follow all our guidance: serious or persistent failure to do so will put their registration at risk.

Read the guidance

The guidance in practice: learning materials

Case studies from GMP in Action. 

Sarah who is 15 years old

Sarah is 15 years old. She has come alone to the GP surgery seeking advice about contraception. Should Dr Williams see her without a chaperone? And should she report child protection concerns to Sarah’s parents or social services? Decide what Dr Williams should do.

Jacquie a single parent

Jacquie is a single parent receiving treatment for substance abuse. Should her GP, Dr Clifford report escalating child protection concerns children’s social services and what information should she share? Decide what Dr Clifford should do.

Christopher and his mother

Christopher’s parents are divorced. His mother wants his ears pinned back to stop playground bullying. Is that appropriate? And is one parent’s consent enough, or should Dr Williams ask for Christopher’s father’s consent, too? What access should doctors allow divorced parents to their children’s medical records? Decide what Dr Williams should do.

Picture of Mr and Mrs Burton

Mr and Mrs Burton don’t want Dr Simpson to tell their son Andrew that he has cancer. They are concerned that it will only upset him and that he’s too young to understand. How should Dr Simpson respond to this and to Andrew’s request for more information and refusal of further treatment? Decide what Dr Simpson should do.


How the guidance was developed

Before the publication of 0-18 years: guidance for all doctors, the GMC’s guidance had only referred to children and young people where the position was different to those of adults, such as in relation to consent to medical treatment. However, a number of developments prompted us to reconsider this position.

One such development was the Children Act 2004. This Act created ….(read more about The Development of 0-18 years: guidance for all doctors (pdf)

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