Child Protection Policy & Procedure
This Child Protection policy was last updated 06 August 2020 (Issue: v1.0).
The aim of this document is for (med)24 to keep children & young people ("children") protected from abuse & exploitation through direct & indirect contact with children (access to patient’s details, communication via email, text message/phone & other communication media)
(med)24 aims to achieve this by ensuring that we are a child-safe practice. med24 follows the guidelines suggested in the revised version of the GMC document “Raising & acting on concerns about patient safety” that came into effect in March 2012. We are committed to working according to best practice to safeguard children irrespective of their background, recognising that a child or young person ("child") may be abused regardless of their age, gender, religious beliefs, racial origin or ethnic identity, culture, class, disability or sexual orientation
As a clinic we have a duty of care to protect the children with & for whom we work
This policy seeks to minimise the risks identified by research that has shown child abuse offenders target organisations that work with children, & then seek to abuse their position
This policy also aims to protect individuals against false allegations of abuse & our reputation as a clinic, of our healthcare professionals & the non-clinical members of our team through clearly defined procedures, knowledge & competencies, a culture of awareness and support, together with continuous review of what we do and how we do it in order to keep children safe
We are committed to the full & uninterrupted implementation of this policy & the procedures it contains
(med)24 will provide in-house learning opportunities & make provision for appropriate child protection training for every member of the team at the appropriate level according to their respective roles & responsibilities. This policy will be made universally accessible for all members of the team & reviewed on an annual basis
This policy addresses the responsibilities of all employees & those with whom we have arrangements
It is the responsibility of the safeguarding lead to brief the team on their responsibilities under the policy
For every member of the team, failure to adhere to this policy may lead to dismissal or constitute gross misconduct. For other stakeholders, their individual relationship med24 may be terminated
To achieve a child-safe environment, all stakeholders must be able to:
- Describe their role & responsibilities
- Describe acceptable behaviour & what is unacceptable
- Recognise signs of abuse
- Ensure that clinic systems work well to prevent or minimise missing vital information or any delay in communication
- Describe what to do if worried about a child or a pregnant woman or a family
- Respond appropriately to concerns or disclosures of abuse
- Minimise any potential risks to children
- Ensure that all information relating to child protection issues is regularly updated in the relevant patient record, with appropriate alerts being added to (& removed from) the records of the child/family member
Adults employed, commissioned or contracted to work with children & young people have a duty of care to safeguard & promote the welfare of children. They are responsible for their own actions & behaviour & must work & be seen to work in an open & transparent way & avoid the type of conduct that would lead any reasonable person to question their motivation and intentions.
There will be a safeguarding children clinical lead ("safeguarding lead") for the clinic who will attend safeguarding partnership meetings, be the point of contact for the practice & cascade safeguarding children information they receive to relevant staff members. The safeguarding lead will also provide support, advice & information for colleagues to ensure that there is sufficient confidence, based on robust shared knowledge, for any (med)24 healthcare professional in taking action to safeguard a child with their colleagues' support.
If (med)24 doctors have the confidence to act if they believe that a child or young person may be being abused or neglected, taking action will be justified. If it turns out that the child or young person (“the child”) is not at risk of, or suffering, abuse or neglect, provided the concerns were honestly held & reasonable and the action was taken through appropriate channels, it will have been the correct decision.
The team will recognise & understand how to use child protection procedures & maintain up-to-date contact details, information & templates for all local safeguarding partners via the staff member responsible for safeguarding administration.
(med)24 will ensure that all staff are trained in safeguarding to a level appropriate to their role. It will be repeated annually to refresh knowledge & competencies. New members of staff will receive child safeguarding training as part of their induction within one (1) month of their start date.
When registering with (med)24 the identity of both the adult registering & that of the child must be verified i.e. with a photo ID of the adult and birth certificate of the child. This adult must be the person with parental responsibility for the child.
All doctors, nurses or other healthcare professionals who, as part of their education & training, will see patients unsupervised, must have DBS clearance before working with patients. Any disclosures as a result of DBS checks must be discussed with the Registered Manager so that a safe decision made about continuing with the employment of the individual based on a risk assessment. If there is potential for the DBS disclosure to impact on patient safety, the local safeguarding partnership and commissioners will be informed.
Good record-keeping provides important information for the next healthcare professional looking after the patient and ensures that all aspects of a consultation or other encounter have been recorded. Records must be as accurate as possible stating whether the observations made are fact, impression or reported by the patient or a third party and will help when a patient’s care is scrutinised.
(med)24 will share information in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 to build up a picture of a child and/or to support a family working in partnership to safeguard a child. All verbal communication will be recorded carefully after each conversation to ensure that all information is included and available.
Robust registration and summarising procedures will help to highlight safeguarding issues. Policies at (med)24 will set out responsibilities for safeguarding children to ensure that safety is paramount. In addition to the Child Protection Policy and Procedure, (med)24 will have a:
- Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure
- Resuscitation Policy and Procedure
- Chaperone Policy and Procedure
- Health and Safety Policy and Procedure, which includes child safety
All doctors, nurses and staff members working with children, parents and other adults in contact with children will be able to recognise, and know how to act on, signs that a child may be at risk of abuse or neglect in a home environment and in residential and other institutions.
(med)24 will ensure external requests for information about vulnerable children must be in writing so that they can be verified.
If clinicians cannot attend case conferences concerning children registered with (med)24, they will send a report (even if this is to confirm no relevant information is held) as this is vital in safeguarding partnership working.
All clinical staff understand their role in safeguarding partnership working, how and when to refer children to local statutory services and to follow up on a referral at regular intervals. All clinical staff and management use up-to-date referral pathways and templates and know when and how to share information safely and appropriately with safeguarding partners when necessary.