Bringing concerns about child abuse into the open
The General Medical Council has just published its new draft guidance on “Protecting children and young people: the responsibilities of all doctors” in which they argue that doctors should tell parents and young people as soon as possible if they suspect abuse or neglect. The guidance also makes it clear that every doctor has a responsibility to protect children, even if they are only treating parents for a condition that could affect their ability to care for a child. The guidance covers a range of important issues from identifying children and young people who may be at risk of abuse or neglect to how to give evidence about suspected abuse in court or when to share information about suspected abuse. It includes a foreword making clear that
when doctors follow the principles in this guidance, they will not be subject to censure by the GMC. Other key issues include the importance of working closely and effectively with other professionals involved in child protection and the benefits of good and constructive communication with parents and carers. The GMC acknowledge that this is a difficult and sensitive area and it wants views on whether they have got their guidance for doctors on this right by 14 October 2011. The document can be viewed at:

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