The Legal and Ethical Status of Children in Health Care in the UK
Nursing Ethics. 1998 May; 5(3): 189-199.
Ethical issues about children's rights in respect of matters concerning resource allocation or treatment opportunities are now a matter for public consumption and concern. Alongside this exists a long-frustrated desire by children's nurses to promote children's health. Long-held assumptions about the legal and moral status of children within the health care system in this country are now rightly scrutinized and challenged. Those of us who claim to represent children now possess an opportunity to exploit public attention for the benefit of these children. This article will explore selected major relevant legal and moral concepts that relate to children with the aim of making transparent some of the important and often confusing information available. It is anticipated that debates about the legal and ethical status of children may be stimulated and fuelled from the following discussion. It is strongly recommended that entering into dialogue with families and children about their perceived needs will go a long way towards advancing thoughtful nursing care of individual children, their families and the general population.
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