We advocate for the interests, rights and wellbeing of children and young people

If you have questions about a parent's right to know health-related information about their child, a child's right to say no to medical treatment, or whether doctors visits are free for children, this page gives you more information.

Questions on this page:

Does my child have to give their consent for me to be given details about their health?

Parents don’t have an automatic right to know health-related information about their child.  There’s no specific age at which a child or young person has the right to consent to their health information being given to someone else. When they're making a decision about consent, a medical professional will look at lots of factors, including the circumstances and the child’s level of understanding and maturity.  You can find out more on the Privacy Commissioner‘s website.

Can my child say no to medical treatment?

There’s no specific age at which a child or young person has the right to consent to having treatment.  When they're making a decision about consent, a medical professional will look at lots of factors, including the circumstances and the child’s level of understanding and maturity. 

When they make a decision about a child’s right to consent, medical practitioners are guided by the Ministry of Health’s consent in child and youth health guidelines.  You can also find information about consent in the Care of Children Act 2004.

Are doctors visits free for children?

Doctors can choose how much they charge for a visit, so it's best to check with your doctor if you are unsure.  Most doctors offer free visits for children under thirteen, including after hours visits.  For children over thirteen, the Government gives doctors a subsidy for each visit. This subsidy doesn’t always cover the amount the doctor charges, so you may need to pay the difference. 


For more information or advice

  • Call our Child Rights Line free on 0800 224 453 from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, or email advice@occ.org.nz.  If you need an interpreter, just ask for language line and the language you want when you call us

For more information about healthcare for tamariki and rangatahi - including doctors’ visits, prescriptions, dental care, optometrists, and mental health care - visit the Youth Law website

Advice on the disability sector

To get advice and support on disability issues, and to understand the roles of different organisations and what support is available, visit the Parent and Family Resource Centre website to order their support guide

Health rights under UNCROC

Article 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) says that all children and young people “have the right to the best health care available, including dental sexual and mental health services”