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PCOs 'jumping the gun' on child protection proposal

GPs have accused two primary care organisations of 'jumping the gun' after they ordered practices to record children's school and family circumstances when they register.

Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taff local health boards have written to GPs telling them to collect details each time a child patient joins their list.

Recording details such as a child's school attendance re-cord and developmental needs is part of Government plans to strengthen child protection laws, but the proposals are

only at consultation stage and GPs are under no obligation to follow them.

Ministers have asked the RCGP to assess whether the move would be feasible as part of the consultation.

GPC Wales said changes to GPs' terms of service to pay practices for the work would be needed first. Welsh GPC chair Dr Andrew Dearden said it would be difficult for GPs to know a child's home or school circumstances without making a visit.

'The local health boards have jumped the gun and are not looking at the bigger picture,' he said.

'GPs only know what their patients tell them, and people who abuse children are not known for their honesty or for accessing health care information appropriately.'

Bro Taf LMC, which covers the two health boards, said GPs would have no problem with doing the work as long as it was properly resourced.

Dr Rob Barnett, secretary of Liverpool LMC, said it was in discussions with local trusts over how to make the Government plans work.

'There is a tension between what was said in the report and commonsense,' Dr Barnett added.

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