CQC: NHS performance on child protection on the slide

NHS performance on child protection in England has declined over the past year according to trusts’ own assessments of standards, the Care Quality Commission said today.

Fewer trusts said they met key standards on child protection in 2008-9 compared with the previous year.

Baby P case

The news comes with the role of the NHS on child protection under scrutiny following failings identified in trusts involved in the Baby P case, which the CQC said had not been fully rectified, in a report in May.

The regulator said today that there were similar declines in performance in relation to carrying out employment checks on staff, ensuring confidentiality of patients’ information and implementing patient safety alerts, which are designed to help the NHS learn from incidents.

The CQC said in-depth reviews of trusts had been conducted into all of these areas and suggested that the increased focus had forced trusts to look more closely at their compliance with standards.

Threat of penalties

The regulator warned that trusts risked facing penalties if they did not improve their compliance with key standards, under the new registration system being introduced for NHS trusts from April 2010.

CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower added: “I would stress that it is often good news when a trust owns up to a problem because that suggests they have taken the first step to get it sorted. It is also important to be clear that we will be checking every single declaration with great care to ensure that we get the most accurate picture possible for this year’s performance ratings.”

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