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HSC under pressure to publish safeguarding report

HSC under pressure to publish safeguarding report

Friday 09 December 2022

HSC under pressure to publish safeguarding report

Friday 09 December 2022


A deputy is renewing calls for publication of an independent report and recommendations about protecting vulnerable children and their families.

Consultants were commissioned to review safeguarding practices last year following multiple complaints from local families.

But the Committee for Health & Social Care has so far refused to disclose the report despite its author and the families concerned reportedly having no objection to publication.

Deputy Gavin St. Pier has submitted the following Rule 11 question: "Will the Committee now immediately publish in full both the report and recommendations?"

The question will be answered by the President of the Committee, Deputy Al Brouard, at next week's States' meeting. Deputy Brouard could also be asked supplementary questions without notice relating to his reply to the original question.

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Pictured: Deputy Gavin St. Pier first asked for the report and recommendations to be released months ago.

The consultants' report was provided to the Committee in September 2021. Recommendations were provided in November 2021.

Deputy St. Pier wrote to the Committee in May 2022 asking for the report and recommendations to be published, but he was rebuffed.

At that time, Deputy Brouard said: "The Committee does not consider that it would be appropriate to publish the learning report in its current format due to the nature of the information it includes about the specific conditions of a small number of service users, which may make these service users or their families identifiable to others.

"Given the multi-disciplinary nature of safeguarding, it would also be appropriate to discuss the potential publication of the findings and/or recommendations of this report with the stakeholders referenced in the report before doing so.

"The Committee is giving this matter further consideration and will provide an update to you as soon as it is able to do so."

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Pictured: The Committee for Health & Social Care has so far resisted requests for the report and recommendations to be published but will face fresh questions on its stance at next week's States' meeting.

Deputy St. Pier told Express that the four families whose cases triggered the report "have waited very patiently for over a year for its recommendations to be actioned".

The families met members of the Committee and the Head of the Public Service, Mark de Garis, on 14 November - just over three weeks ago.

"This was an emotionally challenging and traumatic experience for the families," said Deputy St. Pier. "I'm sure it was also a difficult and shocking reality check for [the Committee's] leadership.

"Whilst it was a positive start, definitive action is now needed. If those tasked with implementing the recommendations are serious about their commitment to delivering change, it is an essential first step that the report and recommendations are now published in full. The families and report's author clearly stated they have no objection to publication.

"The designated safeguarding doctor and nurse and the Chair of the Island Safeguarding Children Partnership also joined the meeting and voiced their own concerns about the systemic failings in our safeguarding processes. Their expertise and experience must be meaningfully harnessed too.  

"It was reassuring to the families that these independent professionals agreed with all of our concerns. Now we all need to move forward to ensure that all children and families are safe in our services."

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Pictured: The report and recommendations into lessons learned were provided to the Committee for Health & Social Care more than a year ago but have not yet been disclosed. 

In April, Deputy St. Pier used parliamentary privilege in the States' Assembly to share his own family’s experiences with the health service. He said that raising concerns with the service had "triggered a bizarre and Kafkaesque safeguarding investigation, which our GP described at the time as the weaponisation of the safeguarding system against us". He said that his family had later received an "unequivocal apology" from the healthcare provider concerned.

Deputy St. Pier told the States that those experiences had led to him working with three families "who have profoundly sick children with complex conditions and needs, who had either sought second opinions or complained about local clinical care, and had found themselves in exactly the same Kafkaesque nightmare of having to deal with safeguarding enquiries while also caring for their sick children".

The concerns raised by the families led to an investigation into the practices and behaviour of a doctor working in the Bailiwick. The conclusion of that investigation was that no substantive concern was upheld against the doctor.

Deputy St. Pier told the States that the investigator also found "that there was potential bias towards families whose children had complex conditions and parents who were inclined to seek second opinions".

Responding to Deputy St. Pier's speech in the States' Assembly in April, Deputy Brouard said: "I know that Deputy St. Pier has been involved with these very difficult, complex and challenging issues. Not only for the families – I can fully understand their frustration and pain – but also for the clinicians and our Committee.

"The Committee...would be happy, where possible and without breaching the confidentiality of any of the families, to discuss the recommendations made to it if Deputy St. Pier or any other deputy wishes to contact the Committee through the usual channels."

READ MORE...

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