Healthcare services are failing to identify and protect children at risk of abuse and exploitation, a new report has warned today.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published its first national review into how well health services are safeguarding vulnerable and looked-after children. It found more consistency is needed in assessing risks and recognising safeguarding concerns.
The 'Not seen, not heard' report calls on health professionals to work together and share information to improve outcomes for children.
CQC’s chief inspector of general practice, Professor Steve Field said: ‘As new risks emerge and more children are identified as being in need, it is more crucial than ever that staff across health and social care, education, the police and justice system all work together.
‘We know that with the right questions and support, services can discover the risks and harms that threaten many children, including those from parental-ill health, sexual exploitation and female genital mutilation.’
The report also found many areas are not yet effectively protecting children at risk from ‘hidden harms’ such as exploitation, parental ill-health and sexual exploitation.
CQC’s chief executive, David Behan said: ‘Listening to and engaging children is often what identifies a good service and while most staff demonstrate passion and determination to keep children safe, the systems and the support they need are not always there and many areas are still not getting it right for children.’