Your health rights
Registering with a GP
If you’re under 16, you have no right to choose your own GP and must be registered by a parent. If you’re aged 16 and over, you can choose your own GP.
You can find more information about GPs on Advice guide.
If you’re under 16, you have the right to a confidential consultation with a doctor, provided you make it clear that you do not want your parents to be told. However, your doctor can refuse to discuss the matter if they are unwilling to accept your request for confidentiality. If you’re aged 16 and above, you have the right to confidential advice and treatment.
Consent to medical treatment
If you’re under 16, you can give your own consent to medical treatment provided you fully understand what is involved. If a doctor decides that you don’t fully understand what is involved, your parents can give consent on your behalf.
If you’re under 18 and refuse treatment, your parents or medical staff may go to court. The court can decide whether to give a court order to override your decision to refuse treatment.
You can find more information about consent to medical treatment on Advice guide.
If you’re under 16 (or aged 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education), you’re entitled to free prescriptions, dental treatment (including check ups), eye tests, vouchers for glasses and free wigs and fabric supports. In Wales and Northern Ireland, you’re entitled to free prescriptions whatever your age.
If you’re aged 16 and 17 and are not in full time education, you’re entitled to free dental treatment (including check ups). You may also qualify for help with other NHS treatment if you are on a low income.
If you’re aged 16 or 17 and maintained financially by the local authority (either wholly or partly), you’re entitled to free prescriptions, eye tests, vouchers for glasses, wigs and fabric supports.
If you are not in any of these categories, you may still get help with NHS charges if you’re on a low income.
For more information about NHS charges, including information about people who qualify for help if they’re on a low income, see Help with health costs.
Discrimination in health care
The NHS and other organisations or people providing health care services are not allowed to discriminate against you because of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy or childbirth, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation. Discrimination because of your age is not against the law.
Also, your NHS Trust, Local Health Board or other health care organisation might have an equality policy which says it will not discriminate against you for other reasons, for example, if you have HIV or if you are a transsexual.
If you think that a doctor, dentist, nurse or other health care professional is discriminating against you, you can complain about this. Ask to see a copy of the equality policy of the organisation they work for and point out where they are failing to keep to it.
Making a complaint
Care and treatment in the National Health Service is usually very good, but sometimes things can go wrong. These pages tell you how to go about dealing with a problem with the NHS.
You can also find out how to go about dealing with a problem with Children’s services.
You can find out more about your rights and health here.