This week marks the second of three HPV immunisation jabs for 11-13 year olds in the UK. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to genital warts and cervical cancer. We will be keeping our 13 year old out of school because they jabbed her last time without our consent and despite her not wanting it either. Some of you have been asking about this so here is the skinny.
Question: Can they jab your 11-13 year old daughter without parental consent in the UK?
Answer:Yes. According to the guidance in this Consent To Treatment form that was handed to us at our meeting with the NHS.
Children under the age of 16
Children in this age group are not deemed to be automatically legally competent to give consent. The courts have determined that such children can be legally competent if they have "sufficient understanding and intelligence to enable him or her to understand fully what is proposed".
. . . The emphasis in the Department of Health's guidance is that the families of children in this age group should be involved in decisions about their care, unless there is a very good reason for not doing so. If however, a competent child under the age of 16 is insistent that their family should not be involved, their right to confidentiality must be respected, unless such an approach would put them at serious risk of harm.
We don't have a big problem with that particular law in the UK. In fact, we wish it were followed in our case, especially the parts about families being involved and children being given 'sufficient understanding'. You may have read our story in my blog or in the national papers. Abigail, who has Type 1 diabetes, did not have 'sufficient understanding' regarding this process. She was told to sign a form and she obeyed. She did not know it was a consent form or that she was giving permission to something that neither she nor us wanted. The jab came unexpectedly, taking her by surprise. You can imagine the trauma our family has gone through, especially reading of deaths and injuries young girls have sustained in the USA.
We met with NHS officials after we lodged our complaint. The report from our meeting with NHS arrived yesterday. Pretty disappointing! We were expecting an apology for the coerced vaccination of our daughter and probably some disciplinary action for the doctor involved, but we didnt get either. Instead, their report ruled in their favour. Their conclusion:
Technorati Tags: hpv
"On the balance of probability: the GP did discuss the issues with Miss Jones :Miss Jones gave consent for the vaccination, which was contrary to her mother’s position."
We dont agree with this conclusion. Actually, we think it sucks! It makes our daughter into a liar and we firmly believe her story. She is, after all, COMPETENT to explain what happened.
" . . .I believe that on the balance of probabilities Miss Jones clearly did understand the consent form and what she was signing.
I believe the report shows that NHS Orkney did seek consent in a correct and proper manner and that all protocols were followed in respect of the HPV vaccination programme.
Its hard to believe they arrived at this conclusion when the report also contains the questions I asked Abigail in their presence at this "fact finding investigation".
"MrJones asked Miss Jones if she knew she had signed a consent form -
Miss Jones – “No”
Mr Jones asked if she knew what she was agreeing to -
Miss Jones – “No”
Mr Jones asked Miss Jones if she had been asked directly if she wanted the vaccine -
Miss Jones – “No”
My next question and statement [not in their official report] - "Were you surprised when the doctor gave you the injection? Abigail replied "Yes". Then I turned to the group and said
"So, from our perspective, Abigail was coerced into getting this immunisation." No one objected or contradicted me. It seemed pretty obvious but I guess that wasn't reflected in the final outcome.
So here we are - at a stalemate. Debbie is exhausted and worn out. We don't have any more energy or time to give to this and we are not sure where to go. Maybe its enough to just tell our story here and hope that it helps other families that go through the same situation.
Needless to say, Abigail is staying home from school tomorrow.