Most children are registered with an NHS General Practitioner. When health professionals see children that are not known this should be an opportunity to assess them for signs of abuse and maltreatment. If the GP feels there is a possibility that the child may be at risk, it might be helpful to telephone the child’s usual GP or school to obtain more information.
Children Looked After
Children in the care of the local authority should be registered permanently. Any concerns around the length of the placement and possible changes of GP should be discussed with the child's social worker and every effort must be made to ensure that their records are transferred to the next GP in a timely and appropriate manner when they move.
Children Who Are Registered But Are Never Or Rarely Seen
Infants and young children depend on adults to access health care. Failure for adults to make and keep a child's appointment might be considered a feature of neglect. It is good practice on the part of health professionals to follow up failure to attend health care appointments and to persuade reluctant parents to present children for such care.
Children may be frequently presented to Out of Hours Services and A&E departments for care of acute conditions, yet fail to attend routine clinic appointments. These are known indicators of risk (CEMACH 2008).
Practices might wish to develop routine searches and flagging to identify such children.
Children presented for immediately necessary treatment or temporary registration.
These may be:
- Children already registered with another UK GP who are on holiday or visiting relatives
- Children who are ‘privately’ fostered
- Children who are looked after by the local authority
- Placed with foster carers
- In a children’s home,
- Recent immigrants not yet registered
- Asylum seekers
- Illegal immigrants
- Trafficked children
The GP's duty is to provide any necessary medical treatment to the child regardless of place of origin or right to UK residence.
Careful and highly detailed records should be maintained with accurate contact details, in the event that follow-up for a medical condition is required or concern about the child’s well-being has been aroused.
The child’s full name, permanent address and telephone number, name of carer, name of usual GP and school if of school age, should be ascertained, in addition to the temporary address and telephone contact details.