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NHS: Children

Volume 505: debated on Wednesday 3 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what (a) statutory and (b) other obligation applies to the NHS in respect of its duty of care towards children by reporting (i) births and (ii) evidence of lack of care of a child to local children's services; and if he will make a statement. (315355)

The Children Act 2004 places a duty on local authorities through their directors of children's services to co-ordinate the production of a strategic Children and Young People's Plan in order to provide an overarching vision for all children and young people in a given area.

Health visitors, who are notified of all pregnancies and births and are responsible for the registered population, are an integral part of the child health team.

Under section 11 of the Act, all primary care trusts, NHS trusts, NHS foundation trusts and strategic health authorities have a statutory duty to make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, and are members of Local Safeguarding Children Boards. The inter-agency statutory guidance, Working Together to Safeguard Children, states that

“If somebody believes that a child may be suffering, or be at risk of suffering, significant harm, then they should always refer their concerns to LA children's social care.”