NSPCC warns that health service misses child abuse injuries

Child abuse deaths are likely to have been missed by hospitals
that have relied on a system that requires evidence beyond all
reasonable doubt to be recorded, according to a report published
today by the NSPCC, writes Paul

The report found that hospitals have only identified child abuse
when firm evidence such as injury is in place, even though this is
rarely the case. It further found that information about how
children came to be in hospital and what happens following their
admittance was often fragmented.

The report follows last year’s publication of Lord
Laming’s inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie, which
called for clearer procedures in the NHS for doctors and nurses to
document and share information about possible child abuse.

NSPCC chief executive Mary Marsh said: “The government needs
to introduce a national standard for collating information relevant
to child deaths as a result of maltreatment, as a matter of

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “This report is based on
information from 1998 to 2001, and since then we have taken a
number of measures to improve safeguards for children. This
includes plans to establish screening groups to examine
all unexpected child deaths.” She added that guidance on
reporting concerns had been issued last year to anyone working with

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