The UK intercollegiate competences are in the process of being reviewed (July 2018). Members of the Safeguarding editorial group are assisting with this revision but it is not anticipated that this will result in major changes for anaesthetists.

Child Protection/Safeguarding training is mandatory for healthcare staff, and competences are included at all stages of training for anaesthetists, and as part of ongoing maintenance of knowledge and skills for all other anaesthetists. Safeguarding competences form part of the RCoA CPD Matrix and are an important element of Revalidation.

All clinical staff require as a minimum Level 2 training. Those taking key roles such as lead paediatric anaesthetist or more specifically a designated Lead for Safeguarding require Level 3 training. The College together with the Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (APAGBI) issued the joint guidance statement (updated in 2016) which describes the role of the Lead Paediatric anaesthetist for Child Protection and Safeguarding.

You may wish to note that there is no requirement for all paediatric anaesthetists to be Level 3 trained. The 2014 (3rd edition) of the intercollegiate document linked above helps to clarify this (see footnote 1 on page 17 of document).

Activities for all healthcare professionals

The acquisition of the knowledge, skills and expertise in Safeguarding and Child Protection should be seen as a continuum and that this training should be flexible and encompass different styles and opportunities. Sessions should be tailored to benefit different professional groups. e-Learning is probably best used as preparation for more reflective based activities. Full details can be viewed in Section B: Education and training (pages 64-73) in the 2014 Intercollegiate document. This includes details of the time that should be allocated for the different levels of Child Protection training. Staff should receive refresher training at least every three years.

Suggested activities for anaesthetists at level 2 and 3:

Specific activities for anaesthetists at level 2 and 3 (these maybe at level 2 or 3):

  • Organise an update and Q and A session with your local medical/nursing lead for SG/Child Protection. Ideally this should include other members of the multidisciplinary team, e.g. theatre staff, surgeons, ward and ED based nursing staff and paediatricians.
  • The RCoA has produced joint guidance on what to do to best protect children and young people in theatre when child maltreatment is suspected: Child Protection and the Anaesthetist – Safeguarding children in the operating theatre (2014). The following material is based on this guidance:
    • RCoA safeguarding film Protecting Children in Theatre – a new resource for anaesthetists
    • RCoA Podcast 1 - Safeguarding Children: Training
    • Further reading

Virtual cases (PowerPoints):

Other level 3 activities:

  • Attend a child death review or overview panel as an observer (arrange with chair in advance).
  • When a Child Dies by Dr Sarah Steel
  • Attend regular forensic or other review meetings for Safeguarding/Child Protection. Some regions will have an annual half-day meeting. Note: these are not the same as individual serious case or section reviews relating to one particular case
  • There is a growing body of evidence which can help specialists in Safeguarding and Child Protection to decide on the aetiology and underlying pathophysiology of abuse. The effects of abuse may also result in long term serious effects on health and wellbeing. The evidence for this has been increasing steadily over the last 10-15 years and is now considerable.