Children’s minister Tim Loughton has spoken of his fears that the government’s programme of NHS reform could hamper efforts to protect vulnerable children.
Speaking at the London Safeguarding Children Board Conference, Mr Loughton said that the switch to GP commissioning that ialready underway as part of the government’s NHS reforms, could lead to a fragmented approach that would pose particular problems.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Loughton said there was already a problem with the system, underscored by the kind of health service failures highlighted by the Victoria Climbié and Peter Connelly tragedies, and that the situation could become worse.
“There will be potentially more of a problem, unless it is addressed, with a more fragmented health service because of GP commissioning,” he said.
“Worryingly, there are (already) very different practices between different A&E departments.
“If you have a six-year old who turns up at 9 o’clock on Friday evening with suspicious bruising, with a parent - that will be handled very differently from one hospital to another: some doing it very well, some not doing it well.
“We have got urgently to address those weaknesses now.”
Mr Loughton said he was in talks with the health minister, Anne Milton, to limit the danger of children falling between services under the GP commissioning reforms.
“Health is going to be a more fragmented structure in future,” he said. “If we are not getting it right now, when it is concentrated in PCTs, it will be more challenging when we are dealing with GP commissioning boards.”