The College of Optometrists

Capacity to consent – children and young people

C62
At 16, a young person is presumed to have capacity to make most decisions about their treatment.
C63
Children under 16 have capacity to make decisions about their treatment if they are able to understand the nature, purpose and possible consequences of the proposed examination and treatment, as well as the consequences of non-treatment. 243, 244 

References

243 Gillick-v-West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority [1985] 3 All ER 402
244 In Scotland the Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1991, s.2(4) states that a person under the age of 16 years shall have legal capacity to consent on his own behalf to any surgical, medical or dental procedure or treatment where, in the opinion of a qualified medical practitioner attending him, he is capable of understanding the nature and possible consequences of the procedure or treatment.

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