Sexual health records 'should not be on database'

A proposed Government database that would share details of children's access to sexual health advisers has been attacked by three charities that say the breach of confidentiality involved is likely to deter children from seeking help.

Brook, the British Youth Council and the UK Youth Parliament presented their views to the Government earlier this week in separate responses to its consultation on the subject, which closes today.

The consultation paper - which arose from last year's Children Act - carries proposals to establish a central database of information on people under 18 that would include their use of sexual and mental health services.

But the youth groups believe that the proposal, which is intended to protect children, could actually have the opposite effect.

"We know confidentiality is one of the main concerns of young people using sexual health services," said Brook chief executive Jan Barlow.

"Almost all the young people we asked about these proposals said they would be less likely to use our services if their details were to be put on a database."

She added that information on the use of sensitive services should only be shared between practitioners when it became absolutely necessary to protect a young person.

- See News, p7.

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