Information for the public
In the NHS, patients and healthcare professionals have rights and responsibilities as set out in the NHS Constitution (www.dh.gov.uk/en/DH_132961). All NICE guidance is written to reflect these. Children and young people with a possible food allergy and their parents and carers (where appropriate) have the right to be involved in discussions and make informed decisions about their treatment and care with their healthcare team. Their choices are important and healthcare professionals should support these wherever possible. All children and young people and their parents and carers should be treated with dignity and respect.
To help children and young people, and their parents and carers, make decisions, healthcare professionals should explain the tests for food allergy. They should cover possible benefits and risks related to the personal circumstances of the child or young person. Children and young people, and their parents and carers, should be given relevant information that is suitable for them and reflects any religious, ethnic, or cultural needs they have. It should also take into account whether they have any physical or learning disability, sight or hearing problem or language difficulties. They should have access to an interpreter or advocate (someone who helps you put your views across) if needed.
For children under 16, their parents or carers will need to agree to their treatment, unless it is clear that they fully understand the treatment and can give their own consent.
When parents and carers are involved they should be able to discuss or review their child's care. As treatment progresses, or circumstances change, it is possible for children and young people (or, where appropriate, their parents and carers) to change their mind about treatment or care.
Healthcare professionals should follow the Department of Health's advice on consent (www.dh.gov.uk/en/DH_103643) and the code of practice for the Mental Capacity Act. Information about the Act and consent issues is available from www.nhs.uk/CarersDirect/moneyandlegal/legal In Wales healthcare professionals should follow advice on consent from the Welsh Government (www.wales.nhs.uk/consent).
Care of young people who are moving from services for children to adult services should be planned according to guidance from the Department of Health ('Transition: getting it right for young people' available from www.dh.gov.uk/en/DH_4132145).
In an emergency, if the person with parental responsibility cannot be contacted, healthcare professionals may give treatment immediately when it is in the child's best interests.