FAMILY planning clinics and GPs should be accountable in writing to the guidelines for prescribing contraceptives to girls under 16 laid down by the Law Lords in October, Catholic doctors said last week.
In a submission to the Minister of Health concerning the proposed revision of DHSS guidelines on contraceptives for minors, the Guild of Catholic Doctors said it would be "appropriate", in order to show that a minor patient is capable of giving consent, that a doctor should sign a declaration that he has complied with each of the five guidelines given by Lord Fraser in judgment on the Gillick case.
They also asked that decisions to prescribe contraceptives to minors should be ratified by another doctor and, in particular where a clinic is concerned, by the patient's GP.
It was also essential, the Guild said, in order to assess contraception in minors, that records be kept of the number receiving contraception, their age, the form of contraception given, whether parental consent was sought, and the outcome and side effects of the prescription.
These provisions would be time-consuming, but appropriately so, the Guild's Master Dr Ian Jessiman said. The prescription of contraceptives to minors undermines parents' authority and their right to bring up their children in accordance with their own ethical standards, he said.
In a deposition on the same matter, Mrs Victoria Gillick recently asked that doctors should give a written explanation for each case in which they Prescribed contraception to girls under 16.