Child protection lacking in NHS19th February 2009
Many hospitals are not routinely checking if children are subject to child protection orders when they arrive injured in A&E.
Figures obtained by the Conservative party indicate it may be as many as two-thirds of hospitals.
Such information on at-risk children is held by councils on child protection plans with designated senior managers and doctors at hospitals able to request access to the information if they are concerned about a particular child.
However, the Conservatives suggest that such information is varied.
They used freedom of information legislation to request answers from 104 hospital trusts.
Only a seventh were able to access child protection information online while the remainder had to get through to the council on the telephone or use paper lists.
Hospitals not carrying out checks said they did not have access to the information or that data protection legislation prevented their staff carrying out checks.
The case of Baby P has also highlighted the problem.
Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: "It is deeply worrying that some very basic checks to protect our most vulnerable children are not in place in A&E.
"Many hospitals are getting incoherent messages about what to do to prevent tragedies like the Baby P case from happening again."
The NHS Confederation agreed there was confusion and said there needs to be more clarity while the Local Government Association said councils and emergency services would continue to work to improve the ways they worked together "to ensure children are protected as much as is humanly possible".
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Title: Child protection lacking in NHS
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 10273
Date Added: 19th Feb 2009