When do teens go to GP on own?

(38 Posts)
JustDanceAddict Mon 30-Sep-19 17:45:24

Mine haven’t yet and obviously I would go w them if they wanted me to (sometimes they want me to drive but it’s walking distance). DS -15 - asked and I don’t specifically know. He goes to the orthodontist on his own so what’s the difference if it’s just a routine appointment (so no worries attached)?
I realise I could ask at the surgery but always forget!

OP’s posts: |
RagamuffinCat Mon 30-Sep-19 17:48:42

For routine appointments I would say whenever they feel ready. It is a good step towards independence and taking care of their own healthcare.

Scarlett555 Mon 30-Sep-19 17:50:51

15 is definitely old enough.

Thenotes Mon 30-Sep-19 17:53:01

I don't know but the chemist wouldn't let my 15yo collect his own prescription!

stucknoue Mon 30-Sep-19 18:00:36

When they feel ready. From around 12 drs will consider their opinion, up to 16 they can contact you unless in special circumstances. Up to 18 my DD's mental health team wanted to talk to me each week

Bishbosh84 Mon 30-Sep-19 18:03:43

I agree with a PP- it should be whenever they feel that they’d rather go alone. I would offer to go in with them and let them decide if they accept the offer. Maybe for more specialist stuff like consultant appointments and procedures etc, I’d press a bit more and emphasise that there will be a lot to remember and that having another person in the room can be beneficial to avoid forgetting the information

leonardthelemming Mon 30-Sep-19 18:42:36

I don't think there's a lower age limit as such. When it comes to consent to a proposed procedure the HCP will have to make a value judgement as to whether the young person is "competent" - in other words capable of understanding what is being proposed and able to make their own decisions. This is sometimes called "Gillick Competence" after Victoria Gillick who objected to an HCP providing her under-16 daughter with contraception without her (Mrs Gillick's) consent (I think). The decision went against her and has since been extended to any medical procedure.
Competence is assumed for age 16+ unless there are contra-indications, such as mental health issues.

Most GP practices will have a notice displayed regarding confidentiality and young people's rights.

So your 15-year-old son can make his own appointment, go on his own, and possibly even consent to treatment.
As another pp said, I would certainly recommend the first two as a way of developing independence. As for consent, a second opinion is often useful, even for adults.


buzzwizz619 Mon 30-Sep-19 18:44:16

I'm 28 and sometimes my mum still.comes with me if I'm feeling really crap 😂

BlueCornsihPixie Mon 30-Sep-19 18:54:23

I think it depends when they are ready and what they are going for.

Personally I think under 16 I would probably go with them, unless they specifically wanted you not there. It saves issues surrounding consent and competence

If it's something complex it's always good to have a second pair of ears as well

If they are going alone they have to be able to take everything in, answer questions appropriately, give a good history and then ask questions/know what's happening from then on. Im a dentist and I don't r3qlly like under 16s unaccompanied because I find it can be incredibly difficult to get a food history and get them to answer my questions.

JustDanceAddict Mon 30-Sep-19 20:10:44

Thanks all.
I am still happy to go in with them but I could always stay in waiting room if they wanted me to. DD will be 18 in a few months and I’ve always gone in with her - think she may have to go in herself after her bday though unless it’s something more complicated esp as she’s going to uni next year and you are supposed to be registered there and not at home!

OP’s posts: |
Penguincity Mon 30-Sep-19 20:15:43

Depends on the what the child wants, I remember my mother starting to walk in with me to the surgery and I looked at her horrified that she thought she would come in, I was 14. My dp goes in with his 17 year old. I would encourage my teens to go in themselves but if they wanted me to go in I would.

Aragog Mon 30-Sep-19 20:18:03

DD is 17y and has been to last two appointments by herself, made the appointments and got her own prescription.

However, if she asked me to I would go with her any time, or would be happy to drive her and wait in the waiting room.

lljkk Mon 30-Sep-19 20:52:47

16/17 ime.

Arewedone Mon 30-Sep-19 21:51:55

Dd wanted me to go with her at 16 as she wasn’t confident but I felt really uncomfortable when the GP openly asked Dd if it was her request to have me there as by law at 16 they do not require adults present. Half way through the GP asked me to leave the room so she could speak confidentiality to Dd. Realise all GPS maybe different but ours are all about safeguarding so 16 seems to be the age they don’t want parents in the consultation.

Babyfg Mon 30-Sep-19 22:01:48

My go won't see under 16s without an adult present. It was a new rule brought in a couple of years ago. I think they cover their backs a lot as if you need to undress or anything they ask another member of staff to be in the room too. They may just be extra

Babyfg Mon 30-Sep-19 22:02:01

My gp won't see under 16s without an adult present. It was a new rule brought in a couple of years ago. I think they cover their backs a lot as if you need to undress or anything they ask another member of staff to be in the room too. They may just be extra

Sadik Mon 30-Sep-19 22:07:56

Last time dd went to the Drs - just turned 17 - I went to the surgery with her (at her request), but she went in to see the GP alone. My feeling is that it's good to get in the way of it before they need to when they start living away from home. Dentist / optician similarly - though I met her at the end of of her last opticians appt to help her choose glasses (having said that I'd take her to give me a 2nd opinion if I needed new frames).

MrsFionaCharming Tue 01-Oct-19 20:22:41

I’m really shocked at the surgery that won’t allow under 16s to come alone. That seems to be asking for teenage pregnancy and for abuse to go unreported.

SeaSidePebbles Tue 01-Oct-19 20:27:06

Where we are, it’s 16 for both GP and dentist.

SherbetSaucer Tue 01-Oct-19 20:36:04

16 and above is WAY old enough to see the GP by themselves! Little bit of molly-coddling happening here!

Sadik Tue 01-Oct-19 21:29:41

I guess it depends what it's for SherbetSaucer - I'm 50, and there are times when I like to have a second person along in an appointment whether for moral support / so someone else has heard all the options & is able to talk it through with me later.

Obviously that's not relevant if you're talking about a minor ear infection, but often teens may be going to appointments where there are treatment / referral choices to be made etc.

SeaSidePebbles Tue 01-Oct-19 22:00:39

sherbet, on what are you basing your opinion?
Because I can’t see any molly-coddling when DD is turned away from the appointment and told to come back with an adult 🤷🏻‍♀️

ChasingRainbows19 Wed 02-Oct-19 07:57:12

Back in the 1990's I went on my own about 13/14. I regularly had chest infections that needed antibiotics so it was no big deal.

Obviously times change but I don't think it's a bad thing when they feel ready to.
Patients with paediatrics/long term conditions are sometimes encouraged to speak to doctors themselves at appointments as they get ready to turn 16 as you are often treated as an adult eg admitted to an adult ward/no parents on the ward all the time etc

Surprising that they don't allow u16 alone at GP anymore. What if they had confidential problems?they may not be able to seek help. A chaperone from the surgery could help with safeguarding?

leonardthelemming Wed 02-Oct-19 10:02:42

I too am surprised that some GP practices are refusing to see under-16s without an adult present. In fact I'm concerned - I thought they couldn't do that.

This link:


is to the Youth Rights poster which I saw displayed at my GP's practice. If I were under 16 and had been turned away I think I would be looking at the right-hand column.

I used to attend medical appointments unaccompanied at 15. That was a long time ago - before the Gillick case.

Aragog Wed 02-Oct-19 13:01:20

My gp won't see under 16s without an adult present.

This is fine so long as they always have a chaperone available to sit in, if a younger person comes in alone. It is important that under 16s can be seen without their parent/carer in some circumstances.

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