Cambridge Independent Neuroscience and Psychiatry Services
Gillick Competent
What does Gillick competent mean?

Children is a legal term and it includes all young people up to age eighteen.

Children aged sixteen and over are usually presumed to be Gillick competent.  Children younger than sixteen can however be deemed as Gillick competent.

Gillick competent means:

For a particular decision, a young person
-understands the problem and implications
-understands the risks & benefits of treatment
-understands the consequences if not treated
-understands the alternative options
-understands the implications on the family
-is able to retain (remember) the information
-is able to weigh the pros and cons
-is able to make and communicate a reasoned and weighed decision regarding their wishes.

If a young person who is Gillick competent, asks professionals not to share information about treatment, their wishes can be honoured, unless we feel there are safety issues that require us to share information.

Young people under eighteen who are deemed Gillick competent may refuse treatment in the face of proxy consent by someone with parental responsibility (when your parents authorise it).

Young people who are Gillick competent can make decisions regarding their treatment and can give consent to treatment, even though their parents are not in agreement.

It does however often benefit the child and the family if the child is supported in his/her decision regarding treatment by the family.

It is always our aim to work together with children and families to achieve goals.
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