A review of child protection arrangements in NHS organisations carried out in light of the Baby Peter tragedy has found “troublingly low” levels of funding and staff training.
The Care Quality Commission inspected every trust in England and found, on average, only 54 per cent of eligible staff had received basic training in safeguarding children.
More than one tenth of trusts did not appear to be complying with the legal requirement to carry out Criminal Records Bureau checks for all staff employed since 2002.
Only 37 per cent of trusts said they had a dedicated budget for safeguarding, a figure called “troublingly low” in the CQC’s report published today, called Safeguarding Children.
CQC senior policy lead for safeguarding children Sue Eardley said: “Sometimes boards didn’t understand the resources involved in safeguarding children in the NHS, and the importance of working with local authorities.
“It’s not just about training, it’s proper supervision and giving staff reflective time to think through decisions they have made, and supporting them in those decisions.”
Responding to the report, NHS Confederation deputy director of policy Jo Webber said child protection was one of the “most important priorities” for the NHS.
She said: “Despite the progress many NHS organisations have made, and the commitment of individuals working in the health service, there is clearly much more that can be done to make sure children are protected properly.
“Leadership is the starting point in culture change and all boards of NHS trusts should ensure that best practice and the necessary frameworks for child safeguarding are followed.
“This means promoting a culture of questioning among staff and learning the lessons from other organisations’ safeguarding arrangements.”