Minister backs new paediatrician skills

New child protection training for paediatricians should make them more confident about being expert witnesses, the junior children’s minister said this week.

Speaking to Community Care, Maria Eagle said that such initiatives would in the long term help to solve the shortage of paediatricians willing to act as witnesses in child protection cases.

She said that more immediate solutions would come out of the government’s review of the role of expert witnesses in the family courts ordered in June 2004 after the Angela Cannings judgment.

The review was with ministers but was unable to give a date for publication, Eagle said.

The training is the first child protection course for doctors training in paediatrics to be rolled out across the UK. It was designed by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the NSPCC and medical education charity the Advanced Life Support Group.

Several different courses have been available to trainees but the new training will lead to a more standardised approach.

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