Safeguarding children is the responsibility of all hospital staff working with children and young people or their adult parents and carers. If staff suspect that a child or young person may be at risk of abuse or neglect then the basis of their concerns need to be fully documented in a factual manner and appropriate action needs to be taken. In some cases this may involve making a referral to Children’s Social Care or the Police following discussion of their concerns with an appropriate senior colleague. If the child is at no immediate risk it may be more appropriate to wait and discuss concerns with a member of the hospital Safeguarding Team to decide what further action should be taken. Staff are aware that in an emergency situation when a child or young person is at immediate risk, the Police need to be contacted.
It is good practice to communicate the fact that a referral is being made and why, to the parents or carers of a child or young person and to the young person themselves if they are of appropriate maturity. Exceptions to this would be if this would put the child or young person at greater risk of harm, if the member of staff considers that they would be at risk or in situations where the safeguarding concern is about induced or fabricated illness, forced marriage or honour based violence.
All staff within the organisation have a duty to co-operate with Children’s Social Care and the Police when they are undertaking a Child Protection Enquiry or investigating a serious crime. This includes the sharing of information about relevant past contact and involvement as well as the outcome of formal Child Protection assessments. Consultant Paediatricians will undertake formal Child Protection assessments when they are requested to do so by the Police or Children’s Social Care. Consent needs to be obtained for such elective assessments from a person with parental responsibility or by court order. Information from the outcome of such assessments needs to be shared in a timely manner.
Staff will attend strategy meetings and Child Protection Conferences and Core Group meetings when appropriate, contributing to inter agency working. Staff will attend family and criminal court proceedings to give evidence when requested to do so.
Staff will be trained in safeguarding to the level required and participate in clinical supervision. This will include matters such as recognition and referral of child abuse, risk factors such as domestic abuse, sharing information and inter agency working.
The organisation will appoint a Trust Board member to lead on Safeguarding. The Trust will appoint a Named Doctor, a Named Nurse, and a Named Midwife to oversee operational matters within the Trust. These operational matters will include case management, supervision and training. The Trust will also appoint a Designated Doctor and a Designated Nurse to oversee strategic matters relating to Safeguarding for the whole health economy within Newcastle upon Tyne. The lead Trust Board member, the Designated Doctor and the Designated Nurse will all sit on the Newcastle Safeguarding Children Board. Other health professionals within the organisation will attend sub committees of the Newcastle Safeguarding Children Board and will undertake Individual Management Reviews when requested to do so by any Local Safeguarding Children Board. Lessons from these reviews, new national guidance and lessons from other enquires will be disseminated throughout the organisation as and when required.