Health and holistics

We hear the chief medical officer in Scotland has pleaded with
health professionals to protect vulnerable people by sharing
information with other agencies. In his annual report, Dr Mac
Armstrong said there must be “compelling reasons” for not passing
on that vital information.

This call is particularly relevant to GPs, who have unique contact
with families and children, and are often best placed to spot the
danger signals when a child is at risk. It can’t be easy when you
work in a busy surgery to look outside of health problems to the
wider needs of a family. But it is vital if our response to a
child’s needs is to be effective.

The Children Bill describes an information hub in which all
professionals working with children and families are expected to
flag up any child protection concerns. We need GPs to play a major
part in making that new system work, and not take a back seat as
some have in the past.

Under their new contract, GPs can opt out of enhanced services to
vulnerable patients, such as homeless people, but we really cannot
have them opting out of their responsibility to help us protect

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