2: Responsibilities of Paediatricians

Please note that this chapter was updated in February 2018 and has replaced the previous 2013 version. Copies of the 2013 version of this chapter are available on request from the PCO UK Team.

2.1.1. Every paediatrician has a responsibility to safeguard children. To do this effectively, all paediatricians should have an understanding of key legislation and guidance, including those related to children’s rights. Paediatricians should also be able to recognise child maltreatment1, applying the latest evidence base to their clinical management of children in relation to child abuse and neglect. Paediatricians should also understand the limit of their competence and when to seek advice from more experienced colleagues.
2.1.2. All paediatricians have a responsibility to take appropriate action (i.e. make a referral to local authority children’s social care) when they believe that a child is suffering, or may be likely to suffer, significant harm. In those rare situations when they believe the harm to be serious and imminent, they must also be aware of how to contact the Police to request that they use their police protection powers. Paediatricians should also follow up referrals to determine the outcome and escalate concerns if they are not satisfied with the response they receive from other agencies.
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