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The Children Act, 1989 states that the local authority needs to complete a section 47 investigation when there is any suspicion that a child is suffering or likely to suffer from significant harm.1 In most instances, this includes a child protection medical which forms an important part of the decision-making regarding the best outcome for the child.
As with all aspects of healthcare, standardisation is very important. This guideline was published in 2020 in part because of geographical discrepancies in how the process of child protection medical assessments were experienced by both staff and families across the UK.
It was developed by the Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health (RCPCH) and its Child Protection Special Interest Group. The intention was that it could be used when planning and commissioning services to enable a unified, appropriate service across the UK.
The guideline provides a list of 13 standards that services are expected to meet. Each standard comes with a list of recommended metrics to assist auditing against this guideline. Of note—if not already done, your service can be registered here CPaudit@rcpch.ac.uk for the national audit process.
RCPCH’s Child Protection Companion—https://childprotection.rcpch.ac.uk/child-protection-companion/—available to all RCPCH members—a guide to the clinical approach for different types of child abuse.
Protecting children and young people—https://www.gmc-uk.org/-/media/documents/protecting-children-and-young-people---english-20200114_pdf-48978248.pdf—General Medical Council (GMC) guidelines on the expectations of a doctor.
https://dontforgetthebubbles.com/safeguarding-module/—a series of clinical scenarios to work through.
https://dontforgetthebubbles.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Safeguarding-Learner-Guide.pdf—more cases to work through.
https://dontforgetthebubbles.com/how-to-talk-to-parents-about-safeguarding/—a good framework to consider when having difficult discussions about child protection concerns with families.
https://www.paediatricfoam.com/2018/10/child-protection/—provides a useful outline of the processes and various definitions found within child protection from a general paediatrician’s point of view.
https://www.paediatricfoam.com/2018/02/child-protection-documentation/—further direction on how to write up child protection medicals.
https://www.rcr.ac.uk/system/files/publication/field_publication_files/bfcr174_suspected_physical_abuse.pdf—the Royal College of Radiologists guidance on what radiological investigations are …
Twitter @Chloe09465103, @HannahCJacob
Contributors I would like to thank Philippa Prentice for encouraging me to undertake this review and also for proof reading it for me. I would also like to thank Hannah Jacob for taking the time to edit the document several times.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.