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15-07-2012 | Article

GMC guidance on child protection is welcome

One of the tougher and more complex areas of medical practice is child protection. Of course, the care and protection of all children is paramount and every healthcare professional should be aware of the many issues that are involved. Numerous ethical and clinical dilemmas arise over the welfare of children and young people, especially when trying to detect abuse and neglect. Over the years we have witnessed some terrible, high-profile tragedies, often mired in controversy, concerning children who have suffered from such maltreatment. In order to protect vulnerable children and young adults and prevent such cases we need to be proactive in a professional capacity to detect those at risk and take appropriate action.

However, this is easier said than done. There can be issues over, for example, confidentiality, particularly when working in partnership with professionals from other disciplines. We need clarity and authoritative guidance to cover this potentially tricky area and thankfully such guidance has now arrived from the General Medical Council (GMC), as highlighted in a univadis GP News article (click here).

My copy of this important guidance arrived in the post as a booklet and a short guide for GPs; I have read both and found them invaluable. The short guide is particularly useful, being easy to read, brief and to the point. Both publications are clear and concise and full of sensible advice that should cover most scenarios.

The guidance is freely available on the web and I will avoid summarising any of it here, because it is so important and should be read from source (click here). As a minimum I would recommend reading the superb GP guide (click here).

Clearly, the welfare and protection of children and young people is essential. This guidance helps doctors deal with some of the more difficult issues that we can face and reading it is mandatory for all of us. We all want to avoid future tragedies and so sharing information, communicating properly and taking appropriate action is the way forwards. Working within the framework of this guidance will undoubtedly help us all.

Best wishes,

Harry

Dr Harry Brown, editor-in-chief univadis

By Dr Harry Brown