Health workers in Bradford have been criticised for not making a referral to children’s social services after a mother suffering from a postnatal mental disorder shook her baby son, causing him life-threatening head injuries.
A serious case review into the incident also criticised social workers for failing to act quickly enough when a referral was finally made because the allocated worker was off sick.
The five-month-old boy, born to Somali parents in September 2006, had suffered a brain haemorrhage. He was found unresponsive and to be breathing irregularly at his home in February 2007.
The family was being monitored by health professionals because the mother had been diagnosed with a psychotic disorder soon after the baby was born. However, despite discharging the mother from a mental health unit, no referral was made to children’s social care until the boy returned to hospital for tests three months later after his father reported seeing him being shaken by the mother.
No action was taken by children’s services because the allocated social worker was off sick and three weeks later the incident occurred.
However, despite identifying several areas where care could have been improved, BSCB chairman Professor Nick Frost said it was difficult to know if the incident could have been prevented.
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