0–18 years: guidance for all doctors

Assessing best interests


An assessment of best interests will include what is clinically indicated in a particular case. You should also consider:

  1. the views of the child or young person, so far as they can express them, including any previously expressed preferences
  2. the views of parents
  3. the views of others close to the child or young person
  4. the cultural, religious or other beliefs and values of the child or parents4 
  5. the views of other healthcare professionals involved in providing care to the child or young person, and of any other professionals who have an interest in their welfare
  6. which choice, if there is more than one, will least restrict the child or young person’s future options.

See Re A (A minor) (Wardship: Medical Treatment) [1993] 1FLR 386.


This list is not exhaustive. The weight you attach to each point will depend on the circumstances, and you should consider any other relevant information. You should not make unjustified assumptions about a child or young person’s best interests based on irrelevant or discriminatory factors, such as their behaviour, appearance or disability.