Working with doctors Working for patients

Communicating with children and young people

15. Children and young people are individuals with rights that you must respect. You must listen to children and young people and talk directly to them, taking into account their age and maturity. You must answer their questions honestly and make sure they know who they can go to for help or support (see Sources of independent advice and support for parents and families for examples of organisations that can give advice and support).

16. You must take children’s and young people’s views seriously and not dismiss their concerns, fears or views because of their age. Even if children are not mature enough to make decisions for themselves, their views and preferences are still important and you must take them into account when assessing their best interests. For more advice, see paragraphs 14–21 of 0–18 years: guidance for all doctors.8

17. In some cases, having a parent in the room during a consultation may discourage a child or young person from being open about what has happened to them, or about any concerns or fears they have. In these circumstances, you should consider speaking to the child or young person without the parent present, in a suitable environment and with appropriate support available to them – for example, by having another health professional, an experienced colleague or a support person present.