Child protection information sharing a priority

Visiting the Finchley Memorial Hospital walk-in centre, Children’s Minister Nadhim Zahawi has urged councils and NHS organisations yet to implement a child protection information sharing system to do so as a matter of urgency.

Zahawi was inspecting Child Protection Information Sharing (CP-IS) and gaining the views of nurses and social workers from North London who use it. CP-IS is the first national safeguarding system which shares information between health and social care by linking up the information held by local authorities on looked after children, and those on current child protection plans, with systems at NHS unscheduled care settings such as emergency departments and minor injuries units.

This means that a notification is generated and sent to the child’s social worker when a vulnerable child known to a local authority attends an unscheduled care setting. This enables health and social care staff to work more closely together to protect children most at risk of abuse, harm and neglect.

According to NHS Digital, its implementation across England has seen a rapid acceleration since the end of last year, following a funding boost of £500,000 from the Department for Education and a further £500,000 from NHS England, with over 131,000 vulnerable children now protected by the system – an increase of over 50 per cent compared with September last year.

Zahawi said: “Keeping children safe is absolutely vital and we want a world-class child protection system that makes sure our vulnerable children get the support they need, when they need it. A key part of this is access to information, and the Child Protection Information Sharing project is an important tool in joining up our systems so doctors, nurses and social workers have a more detailed picture about the vulnerable children they care for. The funding has helped rapidly increase the number of children protected by the system and we want the remaining local authorities and healthcare organisations to implement as soon as possible.”

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