In response to the report on the death of Baby P by the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Dr. Peter Carter, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said:
“We have been calling for government action to improve the dire state of child protection services in many parts of the country. It’s the child protection postcode lottery that failed Victoria Climbie in 2000 and it’s the same postcode lottery that has failed Baby P.
“The system is not in place to prevent similar tragedies, and government, Trusts and local authorities must show greater leadership and provide greater investment in training and access to Designated and Named Professionals. This would equip every part of the country with an adequate safeguarding and child protection service.
“It is also up to child protection services to create a culture where it is acceptable for staff to express their concerns and reservations if they suspect a child is at risk. People are worried about saying something that turns out to be false, but child protection is not a precise science. If all professionals have clinical supervision then the individuals involved have a forum to express their suspicion before deciding how to take things forward.
“For everyone involved in child protection services, lessons need to be learnt and the right action is taken. This means simpler systems that make the work less, not more complicated for staff. Disincentives to good practice must be removed and new incentives to succeed and protect must be put in place.”
“We know that many health professionals who work with children have not been able to access the training they require since the raid on training budgets during the deficits crisis. We urge all health professionals working with children to get in touch with the RCN or their relevant professional body if they do not have access to mandatory training or if they feel that their concerns are not being heard.”