By Gareth Iacobucci
GPs are being asked to provide evidence of problems or concerns they encounter relating to child protection, in order to help the GMC formulate new guidance on the ‘difficult and sensitive’ area of work.
The GMC is asking doctors and health professionals to submit evidence about doctors’ roles and responsibilities in child protection work, as well as seeking the views of children, young people and their families.
The Council said it was looking for examples ‘of what works well and any problems or concerns’, to help it identify areas where GPs may benefit from additional guidance.
The move comes after the GMC suspended the GP at the centre of the Baby Peter case for 12 months after he made several ‘serious breaches in his professional duty’ and failed to urgently refer Baby Peter for assessment prior to the child’s death in August 2007, following sustained abuse.
The Department of Health has since urged PCTs to audit practices on GPs’ attendance at case conferences, with the BMA also calling for GPs to increase their child protection role.
The GMC said the new advice will be designed to help doctors to ‘meet the standards of professional conduct and performance that is expected in this difficult and sensitive area of work’.
GPs will be able to submit evidence until 24 September 2010, when a working group will then develop draft guidance ahead of a major public consultation next year, which will offer an opportunity to comment on the draft guidance.
Respondents are being asked to answer questions covering four areas: consent and confidentiality, relationships with parents and carers and the wider family, doctors working in partnership, and doctors’ knowledge, skills and experience.
Niall Dickson, GMC chief executive said: ‘We want to know what is and what is not working and how matters could be improved.
‘This will help us produce clear and effective guidance for doctors to support them when working with families or treating children who may have been neglected or abused.’
The new guidance, expected to be published at the end of 2011, will apply to all doctors that work to protect children. It is being developed to complement and support current guidance, including 0-18 years: guidance for all doctors; Consent: patients and doctors making decisions together and Confidentiality.
GMC invites evidence from GPs on their child protection role In depth