The Children’s and Families Minister has called on councils and NHS organisations that have not implemented a child protection information sharing (CP-IS) system to do so as a priority.
Nadhim Zahawi visited Finchley Memorial Hospital walk-in centre on 6 June to see CP-IS in action, and talk to nurses and social workers who use it.
The system links the databases of councils with NHS organisations and alerts nurses and social workers when a vulnerable child makes an unscheduled admittance to A&E, or a walk-in centre.
It is designed to identify cases in which an abused child is taken to different care settings by their abuser in an attempt to avoid authorities noticing a pattern.
Zahawi was shown how CP-IS works, spending time with Trish Stewart, head of Safeguarding at Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the walk-in centre.
Representatives from the London Boroughs of Camden and Hackney also explained the benefits.
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 minister is not the only senior figure calling on organisations to do more to implement CP-IS.
In April 2018, Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, urged all NHS organisations in the country to adopt CP-IS, after it was revealed that just over half of NHS sites have implemented it.
Anne Longfield said she wanted to see the information-sharing system implemented “as soon as possible”
A funding boost made up of £500,000 from the Department for Education and £500,000 from NHS England was made available to help councils and NHS organisations implement CP-IS.