The Association of General Practitioners has said that 14 and 15 year olds should not be allowed to give consent to health care, following a proposal by the Law Reform Commission.

The Commission has suggested that 14 and 15 year olds may be able to consent and refuse medical treatment subject to certain conditions, such as understanding the nature of the treatment.

However, a GPA spokesperson said that children who have an idea of what is in store medically are the exception, rather than the rule.

In relation to 16 and 17-year-olds being allowed to consent to and refuse medical treatment - including contraception and surgery - as suggested by the Law Reform Commission, the spokesperson said the GPA accepted that at the age of 16 teenagers can understand medical treatment.

A paper from the Law Reform Commission dealing with legal issues regarding medical treatment for children will be launched this evening by Minister of State for Children Barry Andrews.

The Commission says there is a need to clarify the information on medical treatment for teenagers.

It is also recommending that teenagers who want to refuse life-saving treatment be allowed to make an application to the High Court.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Law Reform Commission President Judge Catherine McGuinness said those who believed that older teenagers were not sexually active or capable of making informed decisions about medical treatment were, perhaps, a little out of touch.