Audit of child protection procedures in an A&E department

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7133.775a (Published 07 March 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:775

Notes of all previous attendances in Sheffield can be checked

  1. P O Brennan, Consultant in paediatric accident and emergency
  1. Accident and Emergency Department, Children's Hospital, Sheffield S10 2TH
  2. Child Health Unit, Northwick Park and St Mark's Hospital NHS Trust, Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow, Middlesex HA1 3UJ
  3. Department of General Practice and Primary Care, St Bartholomew's and the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary and Westfield College, London E1 4NS
  4. Southend Hospital, Westcliff on Sea, Essex SS20 0RY

    EDITOR—Sidebotham and Pearce's audit of child protection procedures in an accident and emergency department should raise general awareness that children in any such departments need special consideration.1 It should also raise specific awareness that non-accidental injury often presents to accident and emergency departments.

    It is interesting that the nurses seem to have been given the job of scoring the risk factors for abuse in this study and that the doctors were given the job of auditing nurse practice. All accident and emergency staff should be informed and aware of the possibility of non-accidental injury, although the checking system would be carried out more efficiently if it was the responsibility of one clearly identified individual, in this case the initial assessment nurse.

    The accident and emergency department at Sheffield Children's Hospital has a system of amalgamating a child's notes so that every previous attendance to the department can be checked at each new attendance. In accident and emergency one does not have the benefit that general practitioners have of having known the child and family over a period. Every clue to the child's health and lifestyle is needed to put the current attendance in context.

    There has long been an alerting system not only …

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