In July 2012, the General Medical Council issued guidance for doctors on protecting children and young people from abuse and neglect. The guidance aims to help doctors to protect children and young people who are living with their families or living away from home, including those being looked after by a local authority.
Child protection can involve making decisions that are emotionally challenging, complicated by uncertainty and sometimes go against the wishes of parents. Doctors should work with parents and families, where possible, to make sure that children and young people receive the care and support they need. However, in cases where the interests and wishes of parents may put the safety of the child or young person at risk, doctors must put the interests of the child or young person first. Failure to act when a child or young person is at risk can have serious consequences for both the child and the family.
"Protecting Children and Young People: the Responsibilities of all Doctors" comes into effect on 3 September 2012 and aims to help doctors keep children and young people safe, and to support doctors in this difficult area of practice.