How often should GPs have safeguarding refresher training?

Safeguarding training is important for keeping children safe. Various failures have emerged in recent times highlighting the importance of training to help GPs see potential cases of child neglect and abuse.

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Good communication skills and in-depth sharing of information between professionals is vital to protect children, alongside proper training for staff which will help them listen to children and look for warning signs.

Safeguarding training guidelines

Everyone agrees that we need good training in this area, but the question remains as to how often should GPs have training and what should the training involve. Thankfully, some guidance in the area has been developed. Safeguarding training also addresses the issues of roles and areas of competence for healthcare staff.

The agreement is that professionals should have refresher training of at least 6 hours over a 3 year period, which means a minimum of 2 hours per year. The idea is that training should be multidisciplinary and across agencies, delivered both internally and externally to include discussions on scenarios and specific case studies and reviews.

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Training courses should be created by organisations and given annually or once every 3 years. GPs should aim to get at least 6 hours of refresher training at level 3 over a period of three years or a minimum of two hours each year.

The training undertaken by GPs should be blended, taking into account different forms of learning, such as courses, personal reflection, e-learning, and studies of specific cases.
GPS can also read the safeguarding toolkit available from the Royal College of General Practitioners, which has a series of practical workbooks for GPs to help them learn to recognise symptoms of potential child abuse. The workbook can be downloaded as a PDF file for easy access.

Criminal record checks

One way of safeguarding children is to ensure a criminal record check is carried out on anyone working closely with children. A criminal record check is a necessary part of becoming a GP or any healthcare professional. This is to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable people of all ages.

A doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional will be working closely with members of the public and so they need an enhanced record check. A professional working in an admin position or as a receptionist will need a standard check.

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