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Are children really safeguarded in the UK health service?
  1. C Graham
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr C Graham
    National Public Health Service, Preswylfa Hendy Road Mold, Wales CH7 1PZ, UK; carys.graham{at}

Statistics from

Perspective on the paper by Harris et al(see page71)

The death of Victoria Climbié was the most appalling tragedy. Victoria’s death had lessons for all agencies, including health. These were not new and have been stated all too often, both before and since. The same points are made time after time in reports, inquiries, serious case reviews and adverse incidents.

The question for the health service is:

Has the Laming Inquiry made a difference?


Certainly Lord Laming’s Inquiry and its recommendations, directed at chief executives, has stirred things in the health service. In both England and Wales, immediately post Climbié, there were for the first time self-audits by the Commission for Health Improvement, conducted at board level, of health organisations’ fitness for purpose in respect of child protection. The replacement bodies, the Healthcare Commission (England) and Health Inspectorate (Wales), now both have a clear remit to monitor the safeguarding of children in the health service.

Recent years have also seen the development of the National Service Framework (for children, young people and maternity services), with different versions in England and Wales, but both setting strong standards for ensuring safeguards for children.

In Wales, the Welsh Risk Pool Standard 39 Safeguarding the Welfare of Children has been implemented. It sets and audits detailed standards for National Health Service (NHS) Trusts to comply with in respect of their “insurance” cover.

The new Children Act 2004 provides a milestone in that for the first time, all those working in the health service have a duty to safeguard children, and in particular all health providers will have to show that they are fulfilling their Section 11 (Section …

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  • Competing interests: None.

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