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GPs forced to attend unnecessary child safeguarding training

Exclusive GPs are being coerced into undergoing hours of unnecessary child safeguarding training by NHS managers who are falsely claiming they do not have the GMC-required competence level, Pulse can reveal.

LMC leaders are warning that PCTs are becoming increasingly heavy-handed in their demands over child safeguarding training, even though GPs are meeting the requirements required for revalidation and CQC registration.

The claims come as the GPC and RCGP were forced to issue a statement over the correct type of training GPs should have for safeguarding children and young people, after ‘numerous reports’ of PCTs requiring all GPs to attend training on child safeguarding and young people.

A joint statement with the Committee of General Practice Education Directors (COGPED) says that GPs should be able to demonstrate ‘intercollegiate guidance level 3’ competence, but that this could be done in a variety of ways, such as reading local guidelines or an online course.

Despite this, LMCs are reporting that PCTs are going much further and requiring GPs to attend level 3 training sessions.

Dr Brian Balmer, chief executive of Essex LMCs said all GPs in Essex were told by local PCTs they had to attend a half-day child safeguarding training course, as it was a GMC requirement.

Advice from the RCGP and BMA

‘A GP may keep up to date in a variety of ways, for instance completing an e-learning module, attending a training session in or out of the practice or reading appropriate local guidelines.

‘There should not be a defined frequency of updates; the important point is that it is the responsibility of the GP, in their appraisal, to demonstrate they are competent and up to date.’

Source: BMA/RCGP

An email, sent by Dr Kate Barusya, named GP safeguarding children at NHS South West Essex, and seen by Pulse, says despite the ‘challenge’ it poses to practice resources, GPs were all required to attend level 3 training.

It says: ‘The recent GMC guidance (section 71) states that it is the responsibility of each doctor or GP to develop and maintain their knowledge and skills to protect children and young people at a level that is appropriate to their role. In this case Level 3 – as on Page 12 of the intercollegiate document.

Dr Balmer said: ‘Attending this session is not compulsory for revalidation or the CQC. We do think it’s best practice and certainly there will be a lead GP trained to level 3 as the lead in the practice, but saying “you must do it” to GPs is never a good idea. It just winds them up.’

Dr Balmer said he was concerned that the problem of GPs being forced to attend unnecessary training would worsen with the introduction of revalidation.

He said: ‘There’s a worry issues will be hijacked for revalidation. We have a good relationship with our responsible officer, but there be some who have got particular bees in their bonnets.’

Dr Jane Lothian, medical secretary at Northumberland LMC, said the PCT in her area had also required each GP to be level 3 certified in child safeguarding.

She said: ‘We are still having discussions about what to do in situations like this when local requirement seems at odds with the national GMC requirement.’

Dr John Grenville, medical secretary at Derbyshire LMC, added that attending a training course does not necessarily show competency.

He said: ‘Bringing a certificate of attendance at a specific course to your appraiser isn’t proof you’ve used the skills learnt in practice. Saying you need to be “certified” misunderstands the point of the appraisal- to apply the lessons in daily clinical practice.’

NHS South West Essex and NHS North of Tyne were asked to comment, but were not able to respond in time for publication.

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Readers' comments (13)

  • This is all a scam to keep jobs for the PCT mob.
    As a professional it is my job to self direct my learning to areas of weakness. Can you tell me what more PRACTICALLY I need to know beyond the index of suspicion , the signs of abuse and to whom to refer when and How.
    It could be on 2 sides of A4. It does not need half a day every year. I had this out with my appraiser and when he wouldnt accept it so I simply rang the RCGP Child protection lead on the spot! Not every GP has the contact that a negotiator has.

    My job is to protect you from multiple diplomatosis

    I am not expected to know the finer points of how the anastomotic stapling gun works in colon surgery BUT I AM expected to understand the significance of altered bowel habit , how to investigate and when to refer

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  • Peter Swinyard

    Well done Peter H !!! This is the last dying spasms of a failed bureacracy. "Show me the regulation which you think entitles you to demand......" usually works quite well - or at least gives the poor souls something to do...

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  • How about @@ mandatory@@ yearly half day courses in fire awareness, lifting and handling, cervical cytology update, equality and diversity, CPR, safeguarding adults, immunisations, etc etc?????

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  • This is not diplomatosis; it is a model of practice belonging to a different profession that is "familiar" to NHS managers as so many of them originate from that clinical background.
    "personal competency, evidenced to your appraiser" is the medical model.
    A certificate of revalidation is the only "mandatory" requirement for future medical practice. Tell everyone who wants anything else to reflect on their inadequacies not your professionalism.

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  • From an soon to be ex-member of the PCT MOB - thanks for the description. -
    Anyway what’s changed in the last few years that has caused this outpouring of angst?
    i have personally dealt with incidents where child safeguarding issues were delayed in their detection because clinicians had failed to identify and/or report appropriately. Did all the clinicians who saw Baby P report or even suspect any abuse . Obviously not deliberately, so we can only assume this was out of ignorance.

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  • What's changed is that GPs are inundated with "mandatory " training of dubious use dictated by nameless bureaucrats . Recently manual handling , fire awareness . I have managed to practice for 30 years with a specific course on manual handling with no problems. Why are these course yearly which is completely arbitrary , 5 yearly would be more than frequent enough for most of them. GP s are sick to the back teeth of being told to go on useless courses when on the other hand we are told we are independent contractors when it suits the powers that be.

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  • is the best that anonymous can do is cite Baby P (poor little mite) Just because one or two doctors dont know something doesnt mean that we all have to go on a learning course. What about the consultant paediatrican that whistleblew on the hopeless arreangements in said London borough(

    This nonsense of multiple diplomatosis will only continue if we let it and i am not letting it. Two university degrees, Two royal college Fellowships and 75 years worth of CPD is enough so tghe incompetent uncertified managers can go for a long walk on a short pier along with all those who give them succour

    Time to stop being mealy mouthed. Those who can, do. Those who cant , teach - or manage

    Peter Holden havoing a bad day and fed up with the wimps infesting the NHS

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  • Three cheers for Dr Holden!

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  • Nhsfatcat

    Not to be facetious [sic] I'd be in favour of compulsory half-day training in every subject GPs have to deal with. Whether that be clinical, administrative or knowing (let alone understanding) local authority rules. Each expert group could sort the training and I'd never actually see a patient ever again.

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  • 'I can't do that because I have not been on the course.'

    We all hate this, it normally comes from a different profession. GPs tend to act differently. We know that anything can come through the door and we have to be prepared to deal with it. We make it our duty to keep ourselves, mainly so that we don't look like idiots in front of patients and colleagues.

    The problem is there is so much to know, we have to do it in an efficient way otherwise it would not work. Mandatory or tick box learning makes things inefficient, more expensive (time and money) and means there is less available for the rest of the learning required.

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