Healthcare professionals urged to help children ‘suffering in silence’

Vulnerable children are ‘suffering in silence’ because healthcare professionals are failing to identify and protect them, the CQC has said.

The CQC’s new report, ‘Not seen, not heard’ says that staff in GP surgeries and hospitals and health visitors are not acting consistently enough to assess children’s risk of problems including parental ill health, sexual exploitation and female genital mutilation.

The CQC interviewed 69 children and young people, 43 of whom said they didn’t feel involved in their care.

Professor Steve Field, the CQC’s chief inspector of general practice, said: “The number of children identified as having been abused or exploited is just the tip of the iceberg – many more are suffering in silence. As new risks emerge and more children are identified as being in need, it is more crucial than ever that staff across health and social care, education, the police and justice system all work together.

“'Not seen, not heard' says the extent of problems such as exploitation, parental ill-health and sexual exploitation is still largely unknown and how well children are being protected from them, even less so. Most areas are not yet effectively identifying and protecting children at risk of hidden harms although inspectors did find that health professionals have improved the way they assess risk and recognise safeguarding concerns.”

The CQC said professionals must do more to involve children in their care, and to identify and prevent risks. For example, professionals dealing with an adult with mental health problems should assess the risk to children in the household.

It said different agencies should share information more effectively. For example, it inspected 50 A&E departments and found that 16 were failing to effectively communicate their concerns when they referred children to social services.

The regulator also called for access to mental health care for children to be a priority after finding that just five out of 38 local authorities inspected effectively used national tools to assess children’s wellbeing.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an NHE columnist? If so, click here.


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


national health executive tv

more videos >

latest news

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professi... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now beyond more > more last word articles >


How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to s... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

Mid Yorks Hospitals NHS Trust: Our improvement journey

28/05/2019Mid Yorks Hospitals NHS Trust: Our improvement journey

Chief executive of the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Martin Barkley, writes for NHE to guide us through his trust’s improvement journey. It’s arguably a ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

healthcare events

events calendar


June 2019

mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

featured articles

View all News