BACKGROUND: According to Israeli law, for a minor to receive medical treatment, the physician is obligated to obtain informed consent from the minor's parents. In practice, minors under the age of 18 often attend the clinics on their own. In past years, only a few attempts have been made to revise the law, however, none were implemented. STUDY AIMS: To evaluate the attitudes and knowledge of physicians in primary care clinics regarding the legal aspects of minors' visits at the clinics, relating to how widespread is the phenomena, the influencing factors, the physician's opinion and approach. METHODS: A descriptive study based on self-administered questionnaires that were distributed by post during 2005, to primary care physicians belonging to Clalit Health Services, south district. The questionnaires included demographic details, attitudes and knowledge of minors' visits. RESULTS: Analysis of 103 questionnaires found that minors attending clinics without their parent is a common phenomenon. The reasons noted were: acquaintance with the parents, and that their children are "mature enough". The physician's knowledge about the Israeli law on the subject was found to be deficient: 56% answered incorrectly to questions on which the law is very clear, and in most of the other questions many claimed they did not know the correct answer. Many of the physicians think that minors should not visit the clinic by themselves; only 6% attended an educational program related to this matter. CONCLUSIONS: The subject of minors attending clinics without an accompanying parent warrants discussion, and clear and updated legislation. In addition, as stems from the study, there is a need to update physicians regarding this issue.
|Pages (from-to)||214-218, 264|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 2010|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (all)