Doctors put off child protection work by false complaints

The increasing number of complaints against paediatricians is
putting many off child protection work, a survey from the Royal
College of Paediatrics and Child Health has revealed,
writes Natasha Salari.

More than one in seven paediatricians have been the subject of a
formal complaint about their child protection work, the survey
revealed, with the number of complaints rising from fewer than 20
in 1995 to over 100 in 2003.

Of these complaints, 11 per cent were referred to the General
Medical Council, but none have so far been upheld.

Almost a third of doctors who had received complaints said that
it had made them less willing to become involved in child
protection work

Nearly 80 per cent of all UK paediatricians responded to the
survey in October last year.

NSPCC director and chief executive Mary Marsh said she was
“deeply worried” about the survey’s findings.

“It would be a tragedy for children if a rise in
unjustified complaints deterred paediatricians from working in the
field of child protection, making diagnoses of child abuse or
providing professional opinion when called upon to do so,”
she said.

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