Access to immediate advice and assessment from paediatrician with Level 3 safeguarding

This page provides a best practice example for standard 10 of Facing the Future: Standards for acute general paediatric services. The RCPCH Child Protection Standing Committee have developed this model for teams to have access to immediate advice and assessment from a paediatrician with child protection experience and skills (Level 3 safeguarding). The RCPCH Intercollegiate Document outlines the safeguarding competencies for staff working with children.

Standard 10: All children, children's social care, police and health teams have access to a paediatrician with child protection experience and skills (of at least level 3 safeguarding competencies) who is available to provide immediate advice and subsequent assessment, if necessary, for children under 18 years of age where there are child protection concerns. The requirement is for advice, clinical assessment and the timely provision of an appropriate medical opinion, supported by a written report.

Model

This best practice model has been developed by the RCPCH Child Protection Standing Committee. 

  • Necessary competencies for assessment and advice are maintained for all relevant professionals, as outlined in the RCPCH Intercollegiate Document. 
  • Units should develop a local child safeguarding strategy, which should include detail on how to access safeguarding support and advice.
  • Named Drs and Named Nurses should provide expert opinion and guidance. 
  • Effective units have developed child protection rotas and on-call services. 
  • Any child admitted to hospital with possible safeguarding concerns should have a consultant led or supervised assessment as soon as possible, as per recommendations of Lord Laming's Victoria Climbie Inquiry. 
  • There should be effective pathways and communication between general and community paediatrics, so that children can be assessed in appropriate settings. 
  • Paediatric Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) provide a suitable location for the assessment of children with suspected child sexual abuse. 
  • Assessments should be supported with written documentation.  
  • Further investigations should be planned and discussed with the child's parents and / or carers before the child is discharged.
  • Regular peer review and individual supervision is encouraged to maintain good practice.
  • All healthcare professionals involved in the care of a child should be notified if a child protection status changes.

"Compliance with this standard protects children who are vulnerable to child protection concerns, providing access to safe and supportive assessment and advice from appropriately trained professionals."

Dr Geoff Debelle

Contact for further information

Dr Alison Steele, RCPCH Officer for Child Protection - health.policy@rcpch.ac.uk