Safeguarding is the process by which vulnerable members of the community are looked after.
- Child Protection
- Adults at Risk (Vulnerable Adults)
- Domestic Violence
- Information Sharing
Child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or at risk of suffering significant harm.
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. An individual may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or failing to act to prevent harm. Neglect or abuse, physically, emotionally or sexually, can have major long-term effects on all aspects of a child’s health, development and wellbeing. Sustained abuse is likely to have a deep impact on the child’s self-image and self-esteem, and on his or her future life.
What our staff do if child abuse is suspected:
‘To do nothing is not an option’ – You must always tell someone if you come across or suspect an individual is at risk or is being abused.
Anyone who works, or has contact, with children has a duty to report actual or suspected abuse. This includes family, paid or unpaid carers, social workers and health workers, volunteers, managers and staff in private and voluntary agencies.
- Be aware and alert to possible abuse.
- If there is clear past or imminent danger to the safety of the child call the police and consider admitting the child to a place of safety, usually a hospital.
- If confident that a referral is needed, contact Somerset Direct for Children, and inform the Practice Child Protection Lead that a referral has been made
- If you are unsure that a referral should be made, use the checklist of things to consider. Discuss your concerns with the Practice Child Protection Lead or if they are not available, the Duty Manager. If you are a GP discuss with your team leader or team colleagues even if you have nothing specific to pin these concerns on. Discuss with Health Visitors if appropriate.
- If following discussions your concerns are not allayed, discuss informally with the local lead for Child protection in Somerset via Somerset Direct for Children.
- If concerns are still present make a formal referral to Somerset Child Protection by contacting Somerset Direct for Children.
- If you have managerial responsibility for a member of staff or a volunteer who has been accused of abusing a child, consult the Human Resource Department.
- Accurately record the details of the incident and the results of discussions with your Practice Child Protection Lead.
Adults at Risk
Health care professionals have a privileged access through our role in caring for those individuals who may be vulnerable in society to the risk of abuse. It is our duty to be alert to this possibility and to be proactive in raising concerns, liaising with other professionals involved in the individuals care and if concerns exist, reporting this to the Somerset social services.
It is important to consider if other individuals may be at risk as well as the identified case.
Somerset Social services have a comprehensive policy and guidance Link to their policy.
It is important that if a patient is a vulnerable adult this is highlighted in their records so that all who come into contact with them are aware of this situation.
The practice holds a register of vulnerable adults who are read coded referral to social service for adult protection 8HHg which is added to their active problem list as significant major problem.
Each patient on the register has a lead clinician- usually their own GP identified and has the lead social worker for their case recorded in their records together with the management plan dealing with the issues of abuse if they are on the vulnerable adult register.
Who Is A Vulnerable Adult?
A vulnerable adult is any person who is 18 years and over in need of community care or support services because of:-
- Old age
- Mental health issues
- Physical disability
- Hearing, seeing and/or communication disabilities
- Learning disabilities
- Inability to protect themselves against significant harm or being taken advantage of.
- Long term illness/condition
- Misuse of substances or alcohol
Types of Abuse And What To Look For
The following provides information about the different types of adult abuse and what to look for. We should all know about the main signs and symptoms that suggest that some form of abuse may have taken place. However, you should not suggest that a person is being abused because one or more of these signs and symptoms are present without more detailed investigation.
Abuse may be deliberate or be caused by poor standards of care, lack of knowledge, understanding and training. Abuse can happen anywhere. A person may be abused in:-
- Their own home, where they live alone, with relatives or with others
- Care homes
- Nursing homes
- Day centres
- Other places in the community
Typical examples are:-
- Slapping, hitting, kicking, spitting, pushing
- Unapproved use of physical restraint or restriction
- Use of force or threat of force
- Harsh manual handling (including inappropriate use of hoists)
- Misuse of medication
Signs And Symptoms
- A history of unexplained falls or minor injuries especially at different stages of healing
- Unexplained bruising in well-protected areas of body such as inside of thighs or upper arms, and so on
- Unexplained bruising or injuries of any sort
- Burn marks of unusual type such as burns caused by cigarettes, carpet burns and rope burns
- History of frequent changing of General
- Practitioners or the General Practitioner not being able to see the vulnerable person
- Storing of medicine which has been prescribed for the vulnerable adult but not given
- Malnutrition, ulcers, bed sores and being left in wet clothing
Psychological / Mental / Emotional Abuse
Typical examples are:-
- Blame, insults, humiliation
- Controlling, intimidation, bullying, harassment
- Being stopped from seeing other people
- Being locked away
- Verbal abuse, swearing, threats, using tone and volume of voice to intimidate, body language
- Denying the right of the person to make their own decisions
How To Report Suspected Absuse Of A Vulnerable Adult
‘To do nothing is not an option’ – You must always tell someone if you come across or suspect an individual is at risk or is being abused.
- Be aware and alert to possible abuse.
- If you are suspicious discuss your concerns with the Practice at Risk (Vulnerable) Adults Lead or if they are not available the duty manager. If you are a GP discuss with your team leader or team colleagues even if you have nothing specific to pin these concerns on.
- If concerns are not allayed, discuss informally with the local lead for adult protection in Somerset.
- If concerns are still present make a formal referral to Somerset safeguarding adults Board using the section 14 alert form below.
- If the vulnerable adult lives in the community (such as in their own home, any kind of accommodation provided by the Community Directorate or the National Health Service or in a care home) contact Somerset County council – 0300 123 2224 and complete the Working with Other Agencies Safeguarding Adults Alert Form (see Working with Other Agencies Section 14.
- If you have managerial responsibility for a member of staff or a volunteer who has been accused of abusing a vulnerable adult, consult the Human Resource Department
- Accurately record the details of the incident and the results of discussions with your Practice at Risk (Vulnerable) Adults Lead.
As a consequence of Baby P there are initiatives in place to improve communication between professionals.
Police are now passing on case reports of domestic violence to health visitors; after they have been processed, they are then passed on to the relevant GP.
Health visitors review their own information, and annotate the reports with any actions they have taken. They do not review their clinical records.
We frequently receive notifications of domestic violence episodes from the police.
We have developed a robust system for team meetings to discuss each report, and review the records of the patients involved, taking any action as necessary.
What is PREVENT?
Prevent is part of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy that aims to stop people becoming terrorists. It is a multi-agency approach to safeguard people at risk of radicalization. It looks at building a deeper understanding of how individuals become radicalized. This helps to identify ways of preventing people from becoming terrorists or supporting violent extremism.
Typically, a radicalization process includes exposure of an individual to extremist viewpoints that may eventually influence the person to carry out an act of violent extremism or terrorism. This could take weeks, months or even years. It is possible to intervene during this process and stop someone becoming a terrorist or supporting violent extremist activity.
Violent extremism is where people seek to justify or promote terrorism or encourage others to commit such acts.
What Does This Mean For Us?
Extremism in itself is not illegal but we still encourage you to be aware of potential signs of it because it can act as a pathway to terrorism. Prevent does not aim to criminalise people for holding extreme views; instead, it seeks to stop individuals from encouraging or even committing violent activity.
We all have a role to play in Prevent within our organisation and community by helping people understand what the strategy aims to achieve.
How To Raise Concerns
If you believe someone is at risk of radicalisation you can help them obtain support and prevent them becoming involved in terrorism by raising your concerns with the Prevent Lead.
The Prevent lead will work closely with the Regional Prevent Co-ordinator and other external agencies/partners to examine areas of concern in a planned and logical way which safeguards both the individual and the organisation.
The Prevent Lead will decide whether to make a referral to: email@example.com
Inappropriate web content should be reported to www.direct.gov.uk/reportingonlineterrorism
Issues raised with the Prevent Lead can be discussed in the regular Significant Event meetings.
Information available on the Home Office Website: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office
Anti-terrorist hotline: 0800 789 321
Crime stoppers: 0800 555 111
Why Do We Need To Share Information?
Information is shared to:-
- Safeguard and promote the welfare of vulnerable adults and children
- Identify patterns of abuse over time
- Make services better
- Improve the quality of the service
- Protect staff
How Much Information Should Be Shared?
Information should be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis. Only share enough information to achieve the necessary outcome. Where sharing fact and opinion it should be made clear which is which. If a vulnerable adult or child’s family has agreed to information being shared, only this information should be given and no more.
Informed consent is permission given by the vulnerable adult/child or a person acting in their best interests who understands why particular information needs to be shared, who will use it and how, and what might happen as a result of sharing or not sharing the information.
Consent is permission given by the vulnerable adult or a person acting in their best interests or child’s family to share information about them.
Rules to Sharing Information within an Agency
The welfare of the vulnerable adult/child must be the first consideration in all decision making about information sharing
Professionals can only work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of vulnerable adults/children if they share relevant information
- Only share as much information as is needed to make a decision – but share enough to achieve the purpose for which information is being shared
- It is good practice to get consent to share information every time. The exception to this is where a professional has a duty to share the information
- Where someone would be put at risk of serious harm
- A Police investigation into a serious offence would be damaged
- You should make sure people know what is happening to their information and that they have the right to see it if they ask to do so
Sharing Information between Agencies
There is little difference in the rules about sharing information in an agency or with another agency. The person giving consent might think that the information will not be shared with other agencies. It is always good practice, therefore, to tell them.
If someone has asked for something confidential to be kept from others within an agency a decision has to be made about whether it is serious enough for information to be shared with someone else.
Sensitive and Non-Sensitive Information
The Law defines sensitive personal information as information about the person’s:
- Physical or mental health or condition
- Racial or ethnic origins
- Political opinions
- Membership of a trade union
- Religious beliefs
- Sexual life
- Criminal offences
Any other information that identifies a person is non-sensitive information.
If you do not have consent there are different rules for when you can share sensitive and non-sensitive information.
If none of the reasons below for sharing information apply, you must get consent before sharing information.
Rules for Sharing Sensitive Information without Consent
If you are considering sharing sensitive information without consent, make sure that one of the following applies:
- It is necessary to protect someone’s ‘Vital Interests’ and the person to whom the information relates lacks the capacity to consent (see Mental Capacity), OR if they are unreasonably withholding consent OR if consent cannot reasonably be expected to be obtained ‘Vital interests’ generally applies to life and death situations and serious and immediate concerns for someone’s safety.
- It is necessary to perform a legal duty given to an agency under an Act of Parliament, e.g. the prevention of crime, Sectioning under the Mental Health Act.
- It is necessary to establish, exercise or defend legal rights. This includes rights under the Human Rights Act 1998. (This is mainly used by Solicitors when they are preparing a case)
- It is in the ‘Substantial Public Interest’. (This would include, for example, a voluntary or community agency who have information that someone may be at risk of harm) and necessary to prevent or detect an unlawful act and obtaining consent would prejudice those purposes
Rules for Sharing Non-Sensitive Information without Consent
If you are considering sharing non-sensitive information without consent, make sure that one of the following applies:
- The information does not allow the individual to be identified, eg, in requesting a second opinion/general advice about the availability of services or future actions or sharing statistical information
- The need to protect the person’s ‘Vital Interests’ overrides the need for confidentiality
- It is a requirement of a Court Order which is made available
- It is necessary to help detect or prevent a crime
- It is necessary in order to perform a legal duty given to an agency under an Act of Parliament
- It is necessary to perform a public function undertaken in the public interest, e.g. voluntary or community agency have information that would promote an adult’s welfare
The person should be told before the information is shared, unless:
- This would place someone at risk
- Prejudice a Police investigation
- Lead to unreasonable delay
If one of these applies, let the person know the information has been shared as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.
Protecting Staff And Other Service Users
A staff member or another service user might be put at risk if the information is shared between agencies or agencies. In these cases, a risk management strategy and line management support must be in place.
How To Share Information
Make sure that:
- Information is given to the right person
- The person understands the information is confidential and knows what to do with it
- A record is kept of what has been shared, when and with whom, and why. This should be noted on case records
- Correspondence is marked ‘Private and Confidential for Addressee Only’ or similar
- The addressee is aware that the information is being sent and is asked to tell us when they have received it
The following should be noted if information is asked for over the telephone:
- The name, job title, department and agency of the person making the request
- Reason for the request
- Main switchboard telephone number
- Check whether information can be provided. If in doubt the person who is asking for the information should be phoned back Information must only be provided to the person who has asked for it. Record all detail.
- Make sure that the way information is shared respects the dignity of the person, eg do not share information in a public area.
Information Sharing Checklist
Before sharing personal information ask yourself:
- About your Right to Share the Information
- Do I already have informed consent to share this information?
- Is the information sensitive personal information?
- Do I need consent to share the information?
- Do I have a legal duty or power to share the information?
- Whose consent is needed? Whose information is it?
- Would seeking consent or informing about sharing information place someone at risk, prejudice a Police investigation or lead to unreasonable delay?
- Does the person who is giving consent understand the possible results of sharing the information?
- Would sharing the information without consent cause more harm than not sharing the information?
About the Information You are Sharing
- How much information is it necessary to share in this situation?
- Have I separated out fact and opinion?
- Do I need to check with someone else who told me this information or wrote this report before I share it?
About the Person You Are Sharing Information With and How You Are Sharing It
- Am I giving this information to the right person?
- Am I sharing this information in a safe way?
- Does the person I am giving it to know it is confidential?
- What will they do with it?
After sharing information ask yourself:
- Does the person know that the information has been shared? (Where this would not place someone at risk or prejudice a Police investigation)
- Have I recorded what has been shared with whom and why on case records?
Whistleblowing is a term often used when a member of staff or a volunteer reports a concern about something that is happening in their workplace. This may be about fraud, health and safety issues, abuse or the standard of care provided by individual staff or the agency as a whole.
Frome Medical Practice has a policy dedicated to whistleblowing – we see this as an important way of protecting and encouraging our staff to ensure we are providing a safe service.
We ensure that we look after these groups through
- Staff training: all staff are trained at the appropriate level for their role in the organisation
- Communication: r meetings at which patients at risk are discussed take place on a regular basis.
- By allocating a senior member of clinical staff to be the lead for safeguarding
INDEX - Policies
- Breastfeeding Policy
- Chaperone Policy
- Confidentiality Policy
- Consent Policy
- Freedom Of Information
- Green Impact Policy
- Infection Prevention & Control Policy
- Information Governance Policy
- Menopause Policy
- National Data Opt-Out
- Net GP Earnings
- Patient Accessible Information Standard
- Practice Strategy 2018-2023
- Safeguarding Policy
- Suggestions & Complaints
- Treating Patients With Dignity & Respect Policy
- Zero Tolerance
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