Seeking medical advice without parental involvement

CRC General Comment No. 12 notes that a child should “have access to confidential medical counselling and advice without parental consent, irrespective of the child’s age”.

View full dataset in data explorer.

Almost half of the Member States do not establish specific rules regarding the minimum age at which children can seek medical advice without parental consent and with no information being disclosed to the parents. Some Member States assess the maturity of the child before allowing them to seek medical advice independently, while others always keep parents informed about a child’s health issues.

Key aspects

  • In eight Member States (Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Romania and Slovakia), parents must be informed when their child seeks medical advice or treatment.
  • Eleven Member States (Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg and Sweden) allow children to seek medical advice without parental consent depending on their maturity.
  • In Bulgaria, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom, children from the age of 16 years can independently seek medical advice and no information will be disclosed to their parents. In the United Kingdom, it is possible for children of a younger age to do so, depending on their maturity. In Slovenia, children from the age of 15 years can seek medical advice, although the age can be set higher or lower than this, depending on maturity.
  • In Denmark, whether or not the parents should be informed in cases involving patients aged between 15 to 17 years is assessed on a case-by-case basis; in addition to the child’s age and maturity, it depends on the nature of the treatment, the severity of the illness and the nature of the information.
  • In Hungary, children can designate an adult other than their parents to receive their medical information starting at the age of 16.