Strengthening our child protection services
Child protection is an issue of fundamental importance to NHS Lothian, to our partner agencies, and to every single member of our staff. It remains a top priority and simultaneously one of our most challenging areas of work.
We continue to strengthen child protection services through close inter-agency working between the NHS, local authorities and police. We also liaise closely with Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS), the new unified independent scrutiny and improvement body for care and children’s services.
Leading the way
NHS Lothian and partner agencies continue to strengthen their child protection systems. Measures include making sure that every nursery school class has its own named health visitor, whom staff can contact about any concerns.
Doing more to direct care and support where it is most needed helps us take big steps forward in protecting the young and keeping them healthy.
We have ever more sophisticated ways of identifying those who could benefit most - but these also show the scale of the challenge.
There are more than 41,000 children aged 0-4 in Lothian and one in 10 has additional needs beyond those of a typical youngster. NHS Lothian has a sophisticated system that allows health professionals to create an "additional record" so these needs can be noted and dealt with.
It may be that help is needed because a parent has health problems, or because the family is facing other kinds of pressure.
This system is one in which NHS Lothian is a leader and it allows us to do much more for families where more support is helpful, but where there is no need for them to be on a child protection register.
Training our staff in child protection
We have developed training plans and packages for all staff in identifying and responding to child protection needs.
Our Child Protection Advisory & Training Team (CPAT) exists to ensure that every healthcare employee receives training in child protection. This is a rolling programme of training to meet the varying professional needs of our staff.
We ALL have a role to play in child protection
NHS Lothian and our partners have some of the best possible systems to identify and help children who might be suffering abuse, violence or other forms of harm. But they will only work if we all know the danger signs and act on them.