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Accident and emergency department access to the child protection register: a questionnaire survey
  1. G Quin1,
  2. R Evans2
  1. 1Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport, UK
  2. 2University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr G Quin, Emergency Department, Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, Ireland;


Objectives: To ascertain how UK accident and emergency (A&E) departments access the child protection register, their levels of satisfaction with that access and their criteria for checking the register.

Methods: A postal questionnaire was sent to 254 “major” A&E departments listed in the 1996 British Association for Accident and Emergency Medicine directory.

Results: 190 questionnaires were returned (response rate 75%). Ninety (48%) responding departments access the register through the duty social worker, 33 (17%) use a computerised copy, 32 (17%) a hard copy and 27 (14%) a combination. Twenty seven of 33 respondents (82%) using a computerised copy were satisfied with their mode of access. This compares with figures of 21 (66%) for hard copy, 45 (50%) for duty social worker and 14 (50%) for a combination. No departments using the duty social worker checked all patients routinely compared with 23 (72%) for hard copy, 22 (67%) for computer copy and 12 (44%) for departments using a combination of modes of access.

Conclusion: There is no uniformity of the way in which UK A&E departments access the child protection register and there is also substantial variation in the criteria used to check the register. This survey suggests that the most common form of access (via the duty social worker) often fails to meet the needs of A&E departments, principally because it takes so long.

  • non-accidental injury
  • detection
  • child protection register

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