HC Deb 17 September 2004 vol 424 c1961W
Mr. Laurence Robertson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the contents of the revised guidance for health professionals on the provision of contraceptive services for those under the age of 16.[188906]

Miss Melanie Johnson

This revised guidance was published in July this year to clarify to health professionals that they owe under-16s the same duty of care and confidentiality as older patients, to further improve the uptake of advice by sexually active under 16s, given high teenage pregnancy rates and the associated risks of sexually transmitted infections. The legal framework and professional codes for health professionals remain unchanged.

The new guidance sets out the principles of good practice for health professionals in considerably greater detail than the earlier (1986) guidance. These include providing the young person with the time and support to make an informed choice, including exploring whether the relationship is mutually agreed or whether there may be coercion or abuse, and always encouraging the young person to involve their parent, carer or another trusted adult.