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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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