Tensions between health and social services revealed at Climbie inquiry

Tensions between health professionals and social workers over
attendance at crucial information sharing meetings were outlined at
the Victoria Climbie inquiry, writes Rachel

Dr Mary Rossiter, the consultant paediatrician at the North
Middlesex Hospital, where Victoria was treated for burns, said she
and a psychiatric colleague believed one of the social workers who
attended psycho-social meetings about the child patients was
suffering from depression and needed help.

Social workers had stopped attending the weekly meetings from
the end of December 1997 until Victoria’s death because they felt
they were being ignored. Rossiter told the inquiry that the social
worker who complained of being ignored “was a lady who needed

She could not name the worker, but knew she was now on long-term
sick. Rossiter added that she believed the female worker was
suffering from depression and was not able to recognise the
multi-disciplinary working.

Rossiter admitted to the inquiry: “I failed to realise that what
seemed very obvious to us in the hospital as a clear cut case of
child abuse had been comprehended by my colleagues in social

She said there had been no full examination of Victoria bar a
cursory one on her admittance to the hospital. There was no child
protection form outlining on-going concerns during a child’s stay
in hospital because the hospital was not using this form at the
time. She agreed that social workers did not know that she had
changed the category of abuse to include physical abuse.










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