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What is Confidentiality?

Worried that the doctor or health professional will tell your parents or someone you know that you’re having sex?

Well don’t be. Under the law, a doctor can provide contraception under the age of 16 without parental agreement (without your parents being involved). If they think you are mature / grown up enough. Even if they refuse (and many don’t), they still have to keep your visit confidential and will not tell anyone.

Young people are often worried that they will be ‘caught’ by friends or family if they attempt to access sexual health services. If a professional, (i.e. nurse, doctor, school health nurse, counsellor, adviser) has a duty of confidentiality; it means that he / she is not allowed to tell anyone else anything that you have told them – without your agreement.

Is confidentiality different for adults? No.

A duty of confidentiality means that it’s the person’s job;

  • To keep any discussions about you, and information held between you private.
  • The only time where confidentiality may be broken is if the professional thinks that you are at serious risk of harming yourself – or others.
  • If this is the case – they will always discuss this with you first.
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