Health data-sharing plans are criticised

Proposals to give health professionals more discretion than other children’s services staff about when to share information will “seriously undermine” the child protection system, it was claimed last week.

A spokesperson for the British Association of Social Workers said the proposals set a “dangerous precedent”.

Government guidance recommends a two-tier approach for health professionals. Consultation on the guidance closed last week.

First, health professionals will be able to seek more information from other professionals if they have reasonable suspicion that a child is being harmed due to abuse or neglect, but will not be required to disclose the nature of their concerns. They would then combine this new information with their own, and consider sharing their data if they decide the child is in danger.

Children’s charity NCH said it was unlikely the guidance would be followed as it was not statutory.

BASW called for professionals across both sectors to follow the same information-sharing procedures.

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