Protecting children and young people: The responsibilities of all doctors

Appendix 2 - Assessing best interests

1. The ‘best interests’ of a child or young person should be the guiding principle in all decisions that may affect them. Assessing a child’s or young person’s best interests will include what is clinically indicated in a particular case. You should also consider:

a. the views of the child or young person, as far as they can express them, including any preferences they have given in the past

b. the views of the parents

c. the views of other people close to the child or young person

d. the cultural, religious or other beliefs and values of the child or young person or their parents

e. the views of other healthcare professionals

f. which choice, if there is more than one, will least restrict the child’s or young person’s future options.

2. This is not a complete list. The importance 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’s or young person’s best interests based on irrelevant or discriminatory factors, such as their behaviour, appearance or disability.