Recent media coverage of the case of a child removed from hospital in Southampton and taken to Spain for medical treatment highlights how important it is for parents of sick children to get specialist legal advice at an early stage to avoid conflict with medical professionals, the local authority and police and, if appropriate, to challenge their decisions.
The child's parents were arrested and separated from their ill son in Spain where they had taken him for medical treatment. The CPS have now dropped criminal charges and the parents are reportedly to be reunited with their son.
In cases of ill children requiring medical care either in the UK or abroad, or parents wishing to relocate abroad with their children, sound expert legal advice before action can prevent police issuing arrest warrants and children being separated from their parents.
Specialist children lawyers can intervene on the family’s behalf and negotiate between health authority, the police and local authority to ensure all available information is shared openly so that informed decisions can be taken by all professionals involved in safeguarding a child’s welfare.
If negotiations are unsuccessful, applications can be brought before the court urgently on behalf of families where urgent medical assistance is sought so that a Judge can decide what is in the child’s best interests. Where appropriate, they can sanction that child’s removal abroad for medical treatment with or without both parents consent.
It is essential that in such cases early advice is sought before action is taken. Specialist children lawyers can advise and assist in all aspects of removal of children abroad and medical treatment cases.