Can I Make My Own Decisions About My Treatment?

Treatment means any medication, tests, therapy, nursing and other care given to you in hospital with the aim of helping you feel better and recover so you can return home.

If you are under 18, in general, you do not have the right under the law to decide whether to consent to mental health treatment or not.

The mental health law does however state that, no matter what age you are, when it is proposed to give you treatment, you should be consulted and your views listened to before the treatment is given to you. So, your doctor and/or your team should consult you about any treatment that is proposed. That doesn’t mean the doctor and/or your team has to agree with what you want, but your views should be taken into consideration. If you disagree with your treatment, you can use Power Tool 6 to tell your team or parent or carer why.

There is a Code of Practice for staff on the admission of children and this says that you should be involved in all aspects of your care and treatment while you are in hospital, based on your needs and wishes. So you may also be consulted about how treatment may be given and about how effective the treatment has been. The law also says that you must be given information that is clear and easy for you to understand on your illness and on any medication given to you including any possible side effects to taking it.

Voluntary patient

If you are a voluntary patient then your parent or legal guardian must give consent for you to be given any treatment

Detained child

If you are a detained child, the doctor gets permission from a Judge to treat you, and so even your parent or legal guardian do not need to be consulted or give their permission about treatment decisions. The doctor decides what type of treatment would be best for you, although some treatments can only be given with the permission of a Judge.

You can use Power Tools 3 and 4 to get your questions answered about your treatment and medication.