Intended for healthcare professionals


GMC guidance puts duty on doctors to try to prevent child abuse

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 28 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d4107
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

All doctors in the United Kingdom, not just those treating children, will have an explicit duty to consider the needs of children and, where possible, take action to prevent their abuse and neglect, under proposed new guidance from the General Medical Council.

Doctors caring for adult patients must consider whether a patient poses a risk to children or young people, says the draft guidance from an expert working group chaired by the Court of Appeal judge Lord Justice Thorpe. Every doctor should be able to spot signs at an early stage that a child might be at risk from, for example, a parent or carer who misuses alcohol or drugs.

The guidance says that doctors should tell the parents …

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