Lack of child protection indicators in GPs’ new contracts triggers concern

Fears have been raised that child protection’s absence from GPs’
new contracts will mean that it will remain a relatively low
priority among health professionals.

Delegates at a conference on child protection and health
professionals, organised by the Royal College of General
Practitioners, said none of the 1,050 quality indicators in the new
contract to be introduced next April covered child

GPs and their practices will be rewarded according to how many
points they get in each of the areas covered by the indicators,
meaning they will have no incentive to deal with issues not

Michael Bannon, associate dean in postgraduate medicine, said:
“What worries me about the GP contract is that GPs might not take
on child protection if they don’t want to. That makes me very

He said that child death inquiries over the years had continued to
highlight GPs’ lack of awareness about child protection issues, and
repeated calls for improvements in training, arguing that it should
be included in graduate learning and be part of the core

“We can’t force anyone to do it, but we can gradually make it an
issue so that it as seen as a must-do,” Bannon said. “If it is made
part of the core curriculum then you wouldn’t be able to get a
certificate of accreditation without it.”

Earlier, Hugh Barr, chairperson of the UK Centre for the
Advancement of Interprofessional Education, criticised the
children’s green paper for lacking clarity on training. “It is
unclear if it is talking about basic or continued training or
whether it is professional or inter-professional,” he said.

“There is a contradiction because it talks about the different
expertise and contribution that each professional brings, but it
also goes on at length about establishing common training and a
common curriculum.”

GPs also admitted that they felt anxious about their ability to
recognise and refer cases of abuse, a state of awareness which one
delegate compared to doctors treating diabetes without insulin.

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