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Living Guide

This living document is produced by the GP medical directors of Londonwide LMCs in collaboration with clinical colleagues within the NHS system in London to guide London’s GP practices to best help our patients.
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Safeguarding and the role of primary care

  • Recognise when children/adults/families are struggling or potentially suffering abuse or neglect.
  • Signpost to resources which can help (see the safeguarding resources page).
  • If you discuss a potentially worrying issue with a patient please ensure you obtain consent at the time (and record this) to discuss with other health partners and agencies, if applicable.
  • Support vulnerable patients where possible.
  • The roles of practice staff may be different at this time due to redeployment, self/household isolation, or So it may be possible for staff working from home other than GPs or GPs who are self- isolating to support safeguarding work within the practice during this difficult time.
  • Refer to other agencies as available and appropriate. This may include:
    • Making safeguarding referrals through your local pathways – be aware these may be different from normal.
    • Continuing to share information as you would normally for the purposes of safeguarding, including for strategy meetings, child protection and adult safeguarding enquiries and safeguarding case conferences.
    • Keeping communication channels open with other key health/social care professionals who are involved in the care of vulnerable children and adults.
    • Join the Covid-19 safeguarding digital community of practice (linking staff across health and social care) here.
  • Download the free NHS Safeguarding App which has local safeguarding contacts and information regarding processes.
  • The RCGP has produced a useful document regarding Covid-19 and safeguarding including practical tips for remote consultations:
    • Check who else is in the house/room with the patient when you are consulting.
    • Ask about what support they have, how they are managing with isolation/schools closing/ social distancing.
    • Ask if they feel safe if they are alone.
    • Instead of our usual habit of using open questions, consider use of closed questions when asking about safety – questions with ‘yes/no’ answers may help a victim of abuse share that they are being harmed.
    • Encourage and promote ongoing social support and contact with friends and family through phone, video-chat etc.
    • Be professionally curious.

USEFUL TIP: Advise patients who are in immediate danger that if they dial 999 and then when the call is answered they key in 55 this will alert the call handler to the fact that the caller is unable to speak.

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