Ask Sam letter


To Sam

GP privacy

Im 14 and had sex with my boyfriend. Its been about a week and im having physical problems that are becoming painful At what age can I go to my GP to get help without them telling my parents?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

You have a right to visit your GP at any age, for any reason and often the doctor can keep that visit confidential. I can't speak for every doctor but most doctors should work in a similar way. There are some times when a doctor has to tell someone else about what you've told them but this is only in special circumstances.

Every UK citizen has the right to free, confidential healthcare through the National Health Service (the NHS). The NHS generally considers someone who is 16 or 17 to be an adult and able to make all decisions about their own healthcare. If you're under 16, the doctor has to decide if they feel you understand what you're being told and the decisions you're being asked to make.

The NHS Code of Practice says that if you're under 16 and are able to understand what your GP is telling you then you're entitled to confidentiality. This means that most of the time you can see your GP without your parents or carer and the GP should keep your conversation between the two of you. You should also be able to make your own decisions about your medical care. But the GP will usually encourage you to get an adult involved most of the time, even if they're going to keep what you've said confidential.

There are a couple of circumstances where the GP won't keep things confidential. This is for your own safety. If you refuse treatment that could save your life, they will need to tell someone else. They may also tell someone else if they feel you don't fully understand what they're telling you.

If you're unsure, you could try ringing the doctor to speak to them over the phone, so you can ask about confidentiality. A doctor should be there to help you, and it's important you get the medical care and support you're entitled to.

I hope this has helped.

Take care,


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