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Confidentiality and the Summary Care Record

Teenagers and Confidentiality

If you are under 16yrs and have a health problem, you can talk to your GP in confidence!

If you are under 16, the law says that you can make your own decisions about treatment - including contraception and abortion - without your parents' permission if:

  • you are ‘competent’ - you can clearly understand the treatment and how it will affect you
  • the doctor cannot persuade you to tell your parents
  • your health will suffer without the treatment and the treatment is in your best interests.

So if you are under 16, the GP will talk to you about the problem and treatment to find out if you are ‘competent’ to make decisions yourself. The GP will encourage you to talk to your parents about your health problems. The GP has to do this by law. If you say that you definitely don’t want your parents to be involved, the GP cannot force you to tell them. Nor can your GP tell your parents without your permission, even though you are under 16, except in very exceptional circumstances. The only reason the GP might have to pass on confidential information is to protect you or someone else from very serious harm. This is a very unusual situation, and the GP would always try to discuss it with you first.

If your GP recognises that you are a young person who is 'competent' we will not routinely share your health information with anyone else.  If you want your parents to help you by making contact with us, it is best if you give your consent for that to happen so that we all understand your wishes clearly. You can set a limit on this by saying just about specific conditions (eg we can share information about your eczema, but not your contraception) or set a date limit (eg until I turn 15).


Best Practice Guidance for Doctors and Other Health Professionals in the Provision of Advice and Treatment to Young People Under 16 on Contraception, Sexual and Reproductive Health. Department of Health, July 2004.

All our staff team sign a confidentiality statement within their contract of employment.  This shows the importance that we place on keeping all information private. 

We know that sometimes discussing personal information in a public space is inappropriate.  If you want to speak to one of us privately (not in the waiting room) please just mention it and we will direct you to another room where you won't be overheard.  If only one person is on duty we may need to ask you to wait a few moments first.

Please be aware that we record telephone calls for training and for safety purposes.  It is not our habit to listen back to calls unless there is a good reason to do so.

There is a new Central NHS Computer System called the Summary Care Record (SCR). It is an electronic record which contains information about the medicines you take, allergies you suffer from and any bad reactions to medicines you have had.


Why do I need a Summary Care Record?

Storing information in one place makes it easier for healthcare staff to treat you in an emergency, or when your GP practice is closed.

This information could make a difference to how a doctor decides to care for you, for example which medicines they choose to prescribe for you.

Who can see it?

Only healthcare staff involved in your care can see your Summary Care Record. 

How do I know if I have one?

Most of the population of England now have a Summary Care Record. You can find out whether Summary Care Records have come to your area by looking at our interactive map or by asking your GP

Do I have to have one?

No, it is not compulsory. If you choose to opt out of the scheme, then you will need to complete a form and bring it along to the surgery. You can use the form at the foot of this page. We encourage you to have a Summary Care Record and to sign up for sharing a detailed record.  We believe this will help you get safer care quickly at a time when you really need it.

More Information

For further information visit the NHS Care records website or the HSCIC Website

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