Health trusts to be marked on the quality of child protection systems

The NHS is taking steps to improve medical professionals’ awareness
of child protection issues.

This year, for the first time, mental health trusts, acute trusts
and primary care trusts will have to meet a new performance
indicator on child protection.

The indicator for the 2003-4 star ratings will require trusts to
comply with recommended child protection systems and

The rationale behind the indicator is based on Lord Laming’s view
that the NHS does not have systems in place “to ensure continuity
of care or adequate consultant supervision”.

The indicator is one of eight introduced for acute trusts, 12 for
mental health trusts and 10 for primary care trusts by the
Commission for Health Improvement.

Meanwhile, plans have also been developed for all new
paediatricians to receive mandatory child protection training by

Newly qualified doctors wishing to specialise in paediatrics will
receive one day’s training in the recognition and handling of child
abuse within their first six months of training under a programme
developed by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and
children’s charity the NSPCC. It will also be open to GPs and
A&E doctors and organisers hope to extend it to qualified
paediatric consultants.

The training will cover issues such as communicating child abuse
concerns to patients, parents and colleagues; understanding the
role social workers play; and awareness of factors that could
indicate abuse.

The training will be piloted in six areas in the summer.

Professor Margaret Lynch, outgoing chairperson of the RCPCH child
protection committee, said the Victoria Climbi’ case had
highlighted the need for training and “got the college to take it
seriously whereas before it was paid lip service”.

Meanwhile, the RCPCH has confirmed it is to review advice on the
use of internal photographs in child abuse cases after the High
Court ruled that a father was wrongly accused of abusing his
daughter because doctors interpreted photographic images

– Performance indicators from

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