latest health care news

02.01.13

Alert system for child abuse to be introduce

A new system to help hospital staff identify child abuse is to be developed, health minister Dan Poulter has announced.

Work on the Child Protection – Information System will start early this year and will be introduced to hospitals from 2015.

Doctors and nurses working in emergency departments will be able to use the system to see if children they treat are subject to a child protection plan, or being looked after by the local authority, or if they have frequently attended emergency departments or urgent care centres over a period of time.

This will allow them to build up a better picture of information, with which to alert social services.

Poulter said: “Up until now, it has been hard for frontline healthcare professionals to know if a child is already listed as being at risk or if children have been repeatedly seen in different emergency departments or urgent care centres with suspicious injuries or complaints, which may indicate abuse.

“Providing instant access to that information means vulnerable and abused children will be identified much more quickly – which will save lives.”

Dr Amanda Thomas, officer for Child Protection at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “The Report of the Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum highlighted that professionals working in different care settings need to communicate better with one another on child protection issues, and highlighted the proposed Child Protection – Information System solution as an encouraging move towards ensuring that clinical professionals have immediate access to important child protection information.

“This solution is a positive step and an important part of the overall solution. The college has been involved from an early stage and will continue to work with the Department of Health to ensure it is introduced effectively, integrates well with the working practices of NHS staff and makes a genuine contribution to improving child protection practice.”

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