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‘Steep’ rise in GP reporting of child maltreatment

GPs are increasingly reporting maltreatment-related concerns in children, according to UK researchers.

Data taken from The Health Improvement Network found that there was a year-on-year increase of 10.8% in the use of maltreatment-related codes by GPs between 1995 and 2010.

Codes relating to high-risk children saw the biggest increase each year at 11.8% in the period between 1995 and 2010. Direct references to maltreatment, or a child being in care, increased the least at 7.5%.

The data was obtained from 448 general practices and adjusted for age, gender and deprivation.

The researchers concluded: ‘The use of maltreatment-related codes in children’s primary care records has increased steeply since 1995.

‘It seems most likely that the increasing rate of maltreatment-related codes in UK primary care is due to changes in coding behaviour and increased recognition by GPs.’

PLOS One 2012, available online 28 November