Am I obliged to provide a medical report for a child actor in a film?
Q A child registered on my list is to appear
in a film and I have been told I am obliged to provide
a medical report.
Can you confirm whether this is so?
A considerable number of complex legal restrictions and local education authority conditions are set out in relation to child performers in entertainment, professional sport or modelling. These restrictions apply to the granting of a licence and to the conditions that must be met when the child is performing.
The local education authority has discretion to require a medical examination before any licence to perform is granted. Medical clearance is essential for:
lfilm or television work
lperformances lasting more than a week in which the child is to perform on six days during that week (five days for sound broadcasting)
levery month for runs lasting more than four weeks.
Medical clearance lasts for a period of six
A matron is responsible for the child's safety, health and welfare while performing and a doctor must be called if the child becomes ill or is injured and the licence holder must inform the parent and local education authority as soon as possible.
It is not part of your terms of service to provide medical clearance and if you choose to issue a certificate of medical clearance you may therefore charge a fee. It would be wise to use a form of words indicating that you know of no medical reason why the licence should not be granted, based on the recorded medical history and your knowledge of the child, the family and the proposed performance rather than giving a medical opinion that the child is definitely fit to perform.
As the child's registered doctor you have a duty to act in the child's best interests at all times. Performing should be a pleasurable experience for the child and if you believe it would not be in the child's interests to perform you have a professional responsibility, and possibly a legal obligation, to indicate this.
Dr Christine Dewbury, Wessex LMCs
Neither Pulse nor Wessex LMCs can accept any legal liability in respect of the answers given. Readers should seek independent advice before acting on the information concerned.