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GP child protection training 'not good enough', CQC claims

By Lilian Anekwe

Only a third of GPs have the correct level of training in child protection, according to a report by the healthcare regulator.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) review out today says GPs and PCTs must deliver ‘major improvements' in compliance with measures to ensure child safety and do more to protect children from neglect and abuse.

The review, commissioned by the health secretary in the wake of the Baby P case, found ‘worrying shortfalls' in the number of GPs with up-to-date child protection training.

On average, only one in three GPs eligible in each PCT are recorded as having up-to-date training in child protection.

Guidance issued by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health states all healthcare staff should have basic training in child protection, and those such as GPs who have regular contact with children and young people require a higher level of training. But the CQC survey found only 35% of GPs had attained this level two training, a figure it described as ‘extremely concerning'.

12 PCTs were found to be non-compliant with the annual heathcheck's core standard for child protection.

Over the summer, the CQC has pledged to made available individual trust results from the review to shame badly-performing trusts into benchmarking themselves against others and finding ways to improve.

Cynthia Bower, CQC chief executive, said: ‘Immediately after the Baby P tragedy, everyone agreed that everything possible must be done to prevent a recurrence. This must not prove to be hollow rhetoric. The NHS has got to play its part by getting these safeguarding measures in place.

‘It is clear that safeguarding has not been as high on the agenda of trust boards as it should have been. And that has meant, in some cases, that NHS staff have not been given the support they need in terms of training and clear procedures for handling concerns.'

‘If that were to change, it would be an appropriate legacy for Baby Peter. We will be using every tool at our disposal to make it happen.'

Jo Webber, deputy director of policy at the NHS Confederation said: ‘We agree with this report's recommendation to ensure all GPs have the necessary skills and training.'

'PCTs, in particular, have a role in working with local practices to ensure the provision of the best level of child protection services, at that vital point of contact for families with the NHS and other children's services.'

New NICE guidance on when to suspect child mistreatment is due out next week.

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