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GPs to be audited on child protection

By Nigel Praities

GPs face further pressure on their role in child protection after new guidance from the Department of Health urged PCTs to audit practices for their attendance at case conferences.

The letter to PCTs admits there is ‘no specific statutory requirement' on GPs to comply with child protection legislation, but urges them to find other ways to increase their involvement.

The letter urges PCTs to actively investigate how GP practices were ensuring safeguarding of children and carry out audits of their participation.

‘GPs often do not get the opportunity or the time to attend such case conferences. This audit could inform what further support, including encouraging alternative, more practical methods of increased communications between individual practitioners and the named doctor, is required to facilitate appropriate participation,' the letter says.

The letter – from Dr Sheila Shribman, national clinical director for children and Dr David Colin-Thomé, national clinical director for primary care – also says PCTs should ensure GPs have ‘protected time' and access to child protection training.

The guidance comes at a time of greater scrutiny over the role of GPs in child protection work, with the Care Quality Commission recently criticising the provision of training as inadequate.

The guidance also comes after new BMA advice encouraged GPs to hold weekly meetings with health visitors, attend child protection cases and maintain registers of vulnerable families, in a bid to prevent cases like the Baby P tragedy.

Read the full letter here

GPs to be audited on child protection

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