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Child protection training for paediatricians
  1. N Shabde
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr N Shabde
    Community Child Health Dept, Albion Road Resource Center, Albion Road, North Shields NE29 0HG, UK neela.shabdenorthumbriahealthcare.nhs.uk

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Making a difference

In recent years high profile child abuse cases in the UK have led to paediatricians being censured in the media. This has caused serious concern to paediatricians. On one hand, eminent paediatricians acting as expert witnesses were accused of mistaken allegations,1 while on the other hand, there was failure of recognition of child abuse in other cases.2,3

Consequently, the confidence of paediatricians has been undermined leaving them in the position of damned if you do and damned if you dont when confronted with potential child abuse cases.4 There is a real concern that paediatricians have lost confidence, feeling undervalued and unprotected themselves. This has been made worse by the adverse publicity surrounding some child abuse cases, which encourages society to lose confidence and distrust the ability of paediatricians to deal with child abuse cases. This has also been reflected in an increase in complaints against paediatricians,4,5 which the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health RCPCH survey revealed deterred many of them from undertaking this vital area of work.6

Against this background and with the ethos that child protection is everyones responsibility being reinforced by recent legislation7 and guidance,8 what role can training play in making a difference to health professionals confidence

WHY DO WE NEED TRAINING

Child protection work requires not only a range of clinical competences but also confidence, courage, and development of appropriate attitudes and feelings.9

Serious case reviews over the last 30 years have highlighted time and again the need for effective interagency communication and appropriate Child Protection training.10 However, until recently, Child Protection training has remained a neglected area of undergraduate and postgraduate medical training.11,12,13,14

The National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children NSPCC undertook a survey of training needs in …

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