Working with doctors Working for patients

Roles of all doctors

2. You must consider the safety and welfare of children and young people, whether or not you routinely see them as patients. When you care for an adult patient, that patient must be your first concern, but you must also consider whether your patient poses a risk to children or young people. You must be aware of the risk factors that have been linked to abuse and neglect and look out for signs that the child or young person may be at risk. Risk factors include having parents with mental health or substance misuse issues, living in a home where domestic violence takes place, or living in poverty.15 But these circumstances do not necessarily lead to abuse or neglect, and child protection issues exist in all sections of society.

3. Identifying signs of abuse or neglect early and taking action quickly are important in protecting children and young people. Working in partnership with parents and families can help children and young people to get the care and support they need to be healthy, safe and happy, and to achieve their potential. You should look out for signs that a family may need extra support, and provide such support if that is part of your role, or refer the family to other health or local authority children’s services so they can get appropriate help.16

4. You must know what to do if you are concerned that a child or young person is at risk of, or is suffering, abuse or neglect or, in the case of a pregnant patient, that the child will be at risk of abuse or neglect after birth. This means you should have a working knowledge of local procedures for protecting children and young people in your area.17 You should know who your named or designated professional or lead clinician is, or you should have identified an experienced colleague to go to for advice, and know how to contact them.

5. You must act on any concerns you have about a child or young person who may be at risk of, or suffering, abuse or neglect (see paragraphs 32–38).