Practices face monitoring on child protection

GPs to receive protected time to take child protection courses, and must offer same support for staff.

Dr Colin-Thome: letter to PCTs
Dr Colin-Thome: letter to PCTs

GP practices in England are to be monitored on the child protection skills of all their staff, including receptionists and practice managers.

Practices should also be audited by PCTs to catalogue how many child protection case conferences they attend, according to DoH guidance.

Following Lord Laming's report, prompted by the Baby P case, England's clinical director for primary care Dr David Colin-Thome has written to all PCTs advising them to closely monitor safeguarding in GP practices.

The letter recommended GPs have protected time for child protection courses and, as employers, ensure practice managers, receptionists and nurses are given the opportunity too.

PCTs are advised to help GP practices attend more courses and cover staff on training.

An accompanying letter, signed by GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman and RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field, said child protection 'is a clear duty for GPs' that must come before any contractual issues.

The additional letter states that all child protection work should be resourced by PCTs.

Further work is being carried out by the DoH and RCGP to include more safeguarding measures in revalidation and appraisal processes.

Non-UK trained GPs may have to undergo additional training before working as NHS GPs, the letter adds.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said that GPs need to take child protection 'very seriously', but PCTs must provide accessible training.

'Different primary care organisations have different arrangements. My own PCT has a series of (training) meetings which are flexible and arranged so it is easy for people to go.'

Dr Vautrey agreed that all practice staff must be kept up to date: 'All those who have direct contact with the public should be aware of the warning signs.'

A DoH spokesman said GPs failing to promote safeguarding would be dealt with locally.

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