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10-07-2012 | General practice | Article

GMC child protection guide launched



MedWire News: New guidance from the GMC offers doctors advice and support to help them protect children from abuse or neglect.

The guidance, Protecting children and young people: The responsibilities of all doctors, applies to doctors in all specialties and comes into effect on 3 September. It clarifies their responsibilities regarding maltreatment, including the need to identify children at risk and to seek support from a designated professional or lead clinician.

Some experts have warned that past high-profile cases and fears of complaints from parents are deterring doctors from reporting concerns. The GMC says that it is vital doctors feel confident to act if they believe a child may be at risk and emphasises that they are safe to do so, even where concerns prove unfounded, if they follow the guidance.

GMC Chief Niall Dickson said: "Doctors who make child protection decisions based on the guidance will be able to justify their actions if a complaint is made against them - provided their conclusions are honestly held and have been pursued through the appropriate channels."

Dr Amanda Thomas, Child Protection Officer at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, commented: "This guidance is timely, easy to read and navigate and provides a valuable framework for doctors, giving them the tools to act on their concerns."

"We're pleased to see that it addresses all doctors - because whether they have a specific safeguarding role or not, every doctor has a responsibility to protect children. What's crucial now is that the guidance is embedded in practice and the partnership working it promotes across the healthcare profession becomes a reality."

MedWire News is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Caroline Price