Training | Safeguarding children – how often do I need training?

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We all know why safeguarding training is necessary: after every high profile case of child neglect and abuse over recent years, the same failures and lapses emerge; poor communication and information-sharing between professionals and agencies, inadequate training and support for staff, and a failure to listen to children.

So no-one begrudges getting skilled up in this key area. But how should we do this? And what evidence will appraisers and practices want to see?

Thankfully, there is clear guidance in Safeguarding children and young people: roles and competences for health care staff, an Intercollegiate document from March 2014. GPs require level 3 competence. Highlighted quotes relevant to GPs from its 102 pages include:

  • Over a three-year period, professionals should receive refresher training equivalent to a minimum of 6 hours (for those at Level 3 core this equates to a minimum of 2 hours per annum).
  • Training at level 3 will include the training required at level 1 and 2 and will negate the need to undertake refresher training at levels 1 and 2 in addition to level 3.
  • Training, education and learning opportunities should be multi-disciplinary and inter-agency, and delivered internally and externally. It should include personal reflection and scenario-based discussion, drawing on case studies, serious case reviews, lessons from research and audit, as well as communicating with children about what is happening.
  • Educational sessions could be a combination of e-learning, personal reflection and discussion in clinical meetings or attendance at internal or external outside training courses.
  • Training can be tailored by organisations to be delivered annually or once every 3 years and encompass a blended learning approach.

What does the CQC say?

In addition to appraisal requirements, the CQC also take a view on this:

  • The CQC reference the statutory guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ which helps professionals understand what they need to do, and what they can expect of one another, to safeguard children. It focuses on core legal requirements and makes it clear what individuals and organisations should do to keep children safe.
  • "GPs in particular have a responsibility to ensure that all staff across their organisations have the knowledge and skills to be able to meet this requirement."

Appraisal and revalidation requirements

Note that this intercollegiate guidance is talking about minimum requirements, and there may well be variation in how appraisers in different areas apply this. Indeed, it seems that some local area teams are piloting adding Safeguarding as an item in supporting information for appraisal, which may one day become nationally agreed.

Take home messages for GPs from this guidance

  • Aim for minimum of 6 hours of refresher level 3 training over 3 years (or minimum 2 hours per year).
  • Training and education can be a combination of various forms e.g. training courses, e-learning, personal reflections on cases or having read guidelines.
  • Submit this evidence to your appraiser every year, and if working across different practices who ask for evidence from you that you satisfy the CQC's requirements, provide a signed letter from you stating that you submit this and any other relevant evidence in your annual NHS appraisal.
  • Ensure that the employing practice undertakes its responsibilities too by ensuring you have access to all its safeguarding information, ideally by giving you access to its Standardised Practice Information Portal.

So check with your appraiser. This guidance may be a useful reference if your appraiser’s requirements seem overly onerous or prescriptive.

Sara Chambers

Sara Chambers

Sara was a salaried GP for 4 years and has worked as a locum GP for 12 years. As well as NASGP's appraisal and revalidation lead, she is also her chamber's lead partner for appraisal and revalidation.
Sara Chambers

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7 Responses

  1. Debbie
    Hi, I can't do my safeguarding on e-learning for health as I can't get an NHS email address. Has anyone else managed to get an NHS email address without being an appraiser?Thanks
    • Richard Fieldhouse
      Here you go
      • debbie Rose
        Thank you so much, that is so helpful. I have tried IT at the CCG before but feel emboldened now to try again!
  2. Rupa Narayan
    Hi, what is the "B" professional training? thanks
  3. David Church
    I am familiar with the required duration and frequency of safeguarding training, and how we should acquire the competencies (by multidisciplinary interaction and using case reviews and discussions, etc), BUT, every time anyone asks 'what are the competencies we must demonstrate at each level', the answer only refers back to the amount of training we must do and which 'level', but never any description of what the competency is. IS there any guidance or requirement as to what we needto be 'competent' to actually do?
    • Richard Fieldhouse
      Hi David, the closest we've come to finding these is on pages 19 to 21 on the intercollegiate document linked above.
  4. Sandra
    How do you have to be to attend a course in safeguarding?

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