The new draft guideline says, any doctor who suspects child abuse must raise the alarm immediately and tell the parents what action they will be taking. Doctors acting reasonably in response to concerns about abuse or neglect will not be subject to censure. The General Medical Council is holding a public consultation on the draft.
It follows a successful appeal against the GMC by a paediatrician struck off after accusing a mother of drugging and murdering her 10-year-old son. The case has now been sent to GMC for re-consideration.
Speaking about the new guidelines, the GMC’s Chief Executive Niall Dickson said: “we recognise that taking action to protect children from abuse can be challenging and distressing for everyone involved. Also it will give confidence to doctors to take extreme decisions”.
The UK-wide guidance applies to all doctors, not just those working in child protection, and the final version should be published by the end of the year. It says that every doctor, even those working only with adults, should be able to spot signs a child could be at risk at an early stage, for instance, if a parent misuses drugs or alcohol.
Report by Alka