NHS Greater Glasgow has created a new Child Protection Unit to help its staff tackle child abuse and neglect.
The Unit, which was officially launched today, will provide training, support and advice to staff to ensure they are aware of child protection issues and know exactly what to do if they encounter a child at risk.
Staffed by a team of dedicated child protection advisers and trainers, it will also provide a 24 hour, seven days a week medical advice line for health staff and other professionals such as police officers.
Marie Valente, Head of Children Protection Development for NHS Greater Glasgow, explained: "Although child protection has always been a key priority we recognise that there are ways in which we can further improve the support we provide to staff. For example, in the past some health staff may not have known exactly what to do if they were worried about a child or they may not have had the confidence to raise their concerns with colleagues or other agencies.
"Child protection is everyone's responsibility and now all our staff will have access to a dedicated child protection team to provide them with training, support and advice they require."
New systems and procedures are also being introduced to help flag up potential cases at an early stage and ensure these are investigated as soon as possible.
This includes a scheme that is currently being piloted to help A&E staff identify and report cases where children attend the department with suspicious injuries.
Specialist training has also been developed for staff who work with disabled children and those who may be involved in identifying or reporting cases of sexual abuse.
Speaking at today's launch, Sir John Arbuthnott also highlighted the impact of deprivation on children. He explained: "Child abuse and neglect can occur anywhere however we know from research that the most vulnerable children in society are more at risk. Deprivation is an important factor although it alone does not lead to child abuse or neglect. People who experience high levels of deprivation, however, are more likely to suffer from physical and mental health problems and be addicted to drugs or alcohol. These problems in turn can affect a person's ability to care for their children and, as a result, increase the likelihood of neglect.
He added: "The outcomes for children who experience abuse and neglect can be devastating as many children may go on to suffer long-term behavioural and psychological problems.These in turn can adversely affect their educational achievements and future personal and professional relationships."
"That's why we have invested additional resources to develop this new Unit and made it a priority to work closely will colleagues from other agencies to ensure there is a more joined up approach to collecting and sharing information on children at risk."
For further information contact the NHS Greater Glasgow press desk on 0141 210 4429
Notes to Editor
substance misuseSubstance misuse - impact on child:
·Depressed and anxious
Source: "Family Matters", Reder, Mclure and Joley 2000