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Safer connections for children

A Multi-Agency approach is required to ensure needs led services are identified for vulnerable children who are at risk of significant harm and ensure that children are safeguarded and protected through a collaborative approach. One of the challenges faced within the current child protection system both in Northern Ireland and nationally is the attendance of GPs at child protection case conferences. GPs are required to contribute to the safeguarding of children as a requirement of the General Medical Committee. In a recent review carried out by the GPs committee of the British Medical Association it was highlighted that the contribution by GP’s to safeguarding meetings of children deemed to be at risk falls short of the mandatory requirement.

Within the South Eastern Trust area a Quality Improvement approach has been undertaken within one Child and Family Team and a GP practice to understand the two systems and consider enablers and barriers that were impacting on GP attendance at case conference. The team also identified changes to be tested and measured. Through the introduction of new processes between the partner agencies the Project team had evidenced an increase in GP attendance at Child Protection Case Conferences to 100%.

Due to COVID-19, this project had to be paused with the immense pressure that GP’s where experiencing in the first wave of the pandemic. However the utilisation of virtual options for case conferences could enable better engagement and it was felt among the team that the new ways of working for case conferences is trialled in Clough surgery in the first instance before scale and spread to other GP surgeries takes place.


Surge 3 in late 2020 early 2021 and the vaccination roll out put further pressure on GP surgeries and allowed for limited engagement. However there are other aspects of this project that can still progress such as the education and information sharing. From a social work perspective this project can keep moving forward however for GP & practice manager engagement it remains paused.


Safer Connections for Children – Barbara Campbell. –

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