Who is responsible?
Ensure you and your staff understand your duty to safeguard children and young people.
Whilst the practice team is not responsible for investigating child abuse and neglect, they do have a pivotal role in the sharing of concerns and information appropriately, and supporting the child protection processes.
Social care services work with health services, education, police, prison and probation services, district councils and other organisations such as the NSPCC, domestic violence foruma, youth services and armed forces, all of whom contribute and work together to share responsibility for safeguarding children and promoting their welfare.
Your practice will fall within the four Lincolnshire CCGs, which have responsibility to co-ordinate the activity in regards to safeguarding and protecting children via the Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board.
Why is it necessary in General Practice?
GPs remain the first point of contact for most health problems. This includes families who are not registered but seek medical attention.
A GP may be the first to recognise parental and or carer health problems, or behaviour in an individual which might pose a risk to children and young people.
The long term effects of abuse are widely documented and include a range of psychological, emotional and social effects. In order to achieve the optimum life chances for children and young people, early detection and intervention is paramount.
Depending on the circumstances of a particular case, intervention may be:
- An assessment of further support needed for the child and family (common assessment framework)
- A child in need of services
- For a child in need of protection, implementation of a plan
It is however, important to stress that we must not stereotype vulnerable families, or adults with problems such as mental health or substance misuse.
What are the Policy Implications for General Practice?
General practitioners are independent contractor providers who have a statutory duty under section 11 of the Children Act 2004 to make arrangements to ensure they have regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
This duty extends to contracts and commissioning of services and as such, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and relevant health authorities may look at your arrangements with regard to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.