A&E visits will be logged to try to spot child abuse
The system is designed to help doctors and nurses spot children who are suffering from abuse or neglec
Thursday 27 December 2012
All children who visit hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments or have out-of-hours GP consultations will be logged in a national database, Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said.
The system is designed to help doctors and nurses spot children who are suffering from abuse or neglect and avoid cases like that of Baby P, Dr Poulter said.
Medical staff will be able to see if the children they treat are subject to a child protection plan or are being looked after - meaning they are already identified as being at risk.
Doctors and nurses will also be able to check if a child has been a frequent visitor to A&E or often needed urgent over a period of time - an indication of abuse or neglect.
Dr Poulter said: "Doctors and nurses are often the first people to see children who are victims of abuse.
"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.
"Baby P and Victoria Climbie were both shocking and tragic cases - we want to do everything we can to stop them happening again. This is a huge leap forward and will give the authorities a fighting chance of identifying abused children much sooner."
At the moment it is difficult to tell if children have frequently had urgent treatment, the Department of Health (DH) said.
But knowing whether they have frequently received urgent care can be important for spotting abuse, particularly if the child has suspicious injuries like bruising, scratches, bite marks and burns.
Under the new system, when a child arrives and is logged in at an emergency department or urgent care centre reception, a flag will appear on the child's record if they are subject to a child protection plan or are being looked after by the local authority.
Doctors and nurses will be able to use this information as part of their overall clinical assessment, along with information about where and when children have previously been receiving urgent treatment.
This will help them build up a better picture of what is happening in the child's life so they can alert social services if they think something might be wrong, according to the DH.
Dr Amanda Thomas, officer for child protection at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: "This solution is a positive step and an important part of the overall solution.
"The college has been involved with (the system) 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."
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
Life & Style blogs
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 2 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 3 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...
£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...