Under the Health & Social Care Act 2012, NHS Southend Clinical Commissioning Group (SCCG) is, from 1st of April 2013, statutorily responsible for ensuring that SCCG and organisations from which we commission services, provide a safe system that safeguards children and vulnerable adults. This includes specific responsibilities for looked after children and for supporting the Child Death Overview Process.
The SCCG Chief Nurse is a full member of the Southend Local Safeguarding Boards for Children and Vulnerable Adults, and the SCCG has full representation on the Health and Wellbeing Boards which has overall strategic responsibility for assessing and planning local health and wellbeing needs. To ensure that we fulfil our responsibilities for safeguarding the SCCG Board has committed to the following:
- To ensure that all member practices and SCCG employees start to understand their own individual responsibility in relation to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.
- To train all SCCG staff in recognising and reporting safeguarding issues – this is part of our mandatory training for staff and all staff will receive yearly updates relevant to their role.
- To monitor closely the safeguarding processes in our local health providers – through formal monitoring of service providers and acting on concerns and incidents. To have a clear line of accountability for safeguarding – the Clinical Chief Officer and Chief Nurse are the responsible members of the SCCG Governing Body.
- To have appropriate arrangements in place to co-operate with the Local Authorities and their Safeguarding Boards – the Chief Nurse is member of both Boards.
- To secure the expertise of a designated doctor and nurse for safeguarding children and looked after children and a designated paediatrician for unexpected deaths in childhood – these designated professionals are in place within the SCCG and will receive clinical leadership and support through established networks and forums.
- To have a safeguarding adult’s lead and a lead for the Mental Capacity Act – the Chief Nurse is supported by a nurse who specifically specialises in safeguarding adults.
Good Medical Practice states that doctors must safeguard and protect the health and well-being of children and young people. It is a legal and statutory requirement. When treating adults who care for, or pose risks to children and young people, the adult patients’ health must be the doctor’s first concern, but doctors must also consider and act in the best interest of children and young people, and promote their welfare. (GMC guidance and Children Act 2004)
The General Medical Council's guidance on 0-18 years Child Protection, section 61 states: “Your first concern must be the safety of children and young people. You must inform an appropriate person or authority, where there is risk of abuse or neglect, when it is in the child’s best interest or necessary to protect other children.
You must be able to justify a decision NOT to share such a concern having taken advice from a named or designated doctor for child protection, or a defence or professional body. You should record your concerns and discussions for taking this decision in these circumstances. You will be able to justify raising a concern, even if it turns out to be groundless, if you have done so honestly and on the basis of reasonable belief.” A doctor needs to consider whether to make a referral to Children’s Social Care or to ask for a second opinion where there are features of abuse, neglect, domestic violence, or concern about sexual abuse.
If a doctor would like a second opinion, or a child requires treatment/admission, they should contact the Consultant Paediatrician on call by phone, and send the child to hospital and not send the family to A&E without contacting the paediatricians in case they do not attend. Always consider the safety of any children in the household where there is evidence of domestic violence. Avoid confronting the family but explain that you are concerned and are referring for a second opinion.
Please refer to the ‘NHS Southend CCG Safeguarding Children’ Policy for more information.