Sunday, 17 November 2013

A duty to . . .

The news in the UK has had quite a lot of coverage of a former Director of PublicProsecutions view’s on the need for legislation to make it a criminal offence not to report suspected child abuse. While we are sure he is an expert on matters legal like so many whose views are reported so widely he has not got a clue where the real problems are. He probably has not read any report into any notable cases of child abuse over the past few decades.

If he is proposing an offence it should not be the failure to report abuse. 

It should be the failure to share information and more importantly the failure to act on any information reported. Any GP in Northernshire knows the situation. You suspect something and you want more information.

The Party have taken away our once first port of call the health visitors and shipped them off into central (now privatized) barracks via TCS (technically Transforming but more accurately Transferring Community Services to the private sector) where they are now hidden from us as is the information they hold. 

Instead of you have accountable health visitors whom you knew and saw regularly there are numerous unidentified health visitors allegedly accountable for your patients but only by phone and that is if someone knows which health visitor is responsible for which child in which postcode area and no one is on holiday or off sick. And someone answers the phone.

Phone calls to local social services are of course logged or met with a barrage of excuses to do nothing like “I can’t get in” or “I’ve spoken to the school nurse and there is not a problem” which is pretty good as we can never speak to a school nurse without weeks of trying.

Even if the failure to act is followed up, as our GPs are encouraged to do by the local fly by night senior social service managers, these managers then insist on a GP filling in a 400 page assessment form before they “can do anything” as opposed to someone doing something so once again nothing happens. The forms require not what the suspicion is but important things like the number of plug sockets in the house and their siblings’ shoe sizes all information your average GP has to hand. A form missing a section filled in = a referral rejected.

These senior managers who hide behind layers of bureaucracy believe that technology is the key. They feel that if computers talk to each other that will solve everything.

This is no different to what happens at present. Everyone has information but no one can or will share it. Putting information on to a computer means the information is there and can be tracked, it can be date and time audited which is great for bureaucrats but not for children. You cannot interrogate a computer and computers only share information if instructed to do so by a human being. Most managers cannot program a computer which is no different to those in the UK who write medical software.

Legislation will not improve child protection as the learned lawyer thinks for the law places so many more obstacles to NOT getting information than it allows e.g. Data Protection Act, Human Rights, patient/client confidentiality et al. Any GP out there not had any of these quoted to them by social services in their career?

The law also allows many more reasons for people involved not to do anything and get paid for doing so and so any additional laws will achieve nothing. 

Praise be to the Party and its organs for once again missing the point of the problem. The information is often there but not shared or acted on. So we can report to our heart’s content and history repeats itself again and again . . . regardless of any new law(s).


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