Risk of violations of children’s rights in health care due to ambiguous regulations

In a letter to the Swedish government the National Council on Medical Ethics proposes a review of legal options to enhance children’s rights in healthcare.

Sweden lacks explicit general regulations concerning young people’s status as patients in healthcare. In practice, principles of the Convention on Children’s Rights such as the best interests of the child, are considered in the implementation of the Swedish healthcare act. But there are uncertainties in the legislation and in the implementation of the Convention in healthcare.

According to the Council, there is a risk that young patients integrity is violated due to ambiguity of regulations. There is furthermore concern that healthcare, protection and support is unsatisfactorily provided to these patients.

Clarifying regulations about young people in healthcare would make their needs more visible and would strengthen their autonomy and rights.