The General Medical Council (GMC) has announced that Lord Justice Thorpe will chair a working group to produce new guidance for doctors involved in child protection.
The working group has been asked to develop guidance that will help doctors involved in this complex area of practice to interpret and apply the standards expected by the GMC.
The group will consist of seven doctors from a number of specialities and seven lay members, including the controversial parent advocate Penny Mellor.
The Working Group will review the content of relevant GMC guidance against significant developments regarding doctors' roles in child protection. It will identify and consider any guidelines other organisations have published on issues related to doctors in child protection work and how this might improve GMC guidance.
In doing so, it will engage with a range of experts on the challenges and practical difficulties doctors face undertaking child protection work, and to seek the views of key interests. Lord Justice Thorpe's working group will then decide the scope and structure of new guidance, and recommend new draft guidance to the GMC.
Niall Dickson, the Chief Executive of the General Medical Council, said: "Lord Justice Thorpe brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this important role - providing doctors who work in child protection with guidance that will help them in their day to day work is vital.
"We need to build confidence in what will always be a difficult area of practice. The working group's members come from different perspectives but they are all committed to developing clear guidance for doctors which will promote good practice and benefit vulnerable children".
Lord Justice Thorpe said: "I am delighted to be asked to chair the group. I very much hope that the initiative the GMC has taken will contribute to the future in which doctors feel secure in contributing to child protection procedures, including giving expert evidence to the courts."
The group has been asked to produce the new guidance by the end of 2011, and will begin the process by issuing a call for evidence this summer.