When children/young people (YP) are not brought/attend appointments or staff are unable to access them in the home for a planned home visit (non-access visit), this can raise safeguarding concerns or child protection concerns.
Therefore, within Ashford and St. Peter’s NHS Trust (ASPH) children and YP non attendances or non-access visits are not treated the same as adults and these procedures have been developed to reflect this. It is important to bear in mind that children do not fail to attend appointments but that their parents or carers may not bring them to an appointment. This can occur for various reasons; however parents and carers have a responsibility to ensure all children and YP receive health care. Unfortunately not all parents have the capacity to facilitate this.
A missed health appointment for a child or young person on its own may be of no concern or it may be very significant. Each non-attendance or non-access visit should be reviewed on an individual basis and the need for further action based after assessing the risk. Each practitioner is accountable for the decisions they make and the consequences of those decisions. If there are safeguarding concerns, staff should discuss with their line manager or a member of the safeguarding team (see appendix 1).
All staff have a duty to safeguard children by recognising abuse and referring onwards as required (Working Together 2018) and have key responsibilities as set out in in the ASPH Safeguarding Children Policy. Additionally the Care Quality Commission has reiterated the need for there to be robust processes in place to follow up children who fail to present for health appointments. (CQC Safeguarding Children 2009). Lack of formal process in following up children’s non-attendance was highlighted as an important factor in safeguarding in the report Why Children Die (Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health, 2008). Retrospective analysis of Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews (CSPRs) have repeatedly identified parental non-engagement or dis-engagement with professionals as a factor which places children at increased risk. Non-attendance at health appointments has also been highlighted in local CSPRs and in children who have been abused.
|Compiled by:||Dr Clare Hill, Named Doctor Safeguarding Children|
|Ratified by:||Safeguarding Committee|
|Date Ratified:||October 2021|
|Date Issued:||November 2021|
|Review Date:||October 2024|
|Target Audience:||All Health Professionals|
|Contact name:||Dr Clare Hill, Named Doctor Safeguarding Children|
- Any relevant trust policies/guidelines or procedures