NHS safeguarding system 'has become overused'

Medical Government/ NHS related news

Concerns have been raised by the government that the safeguarding system within the NHS is becoming overused in a way that is damaging its effectiveness.

Care services minister Paul Burstow has blamed a "top-down culture" and an overreliance on bureaucracy for creating an environment in which health professionals are reporting trivial matters as safeguarding issues, rather than simply addressing them.

Examples cited included the reporting of a care assistant for falling asleep on a single occasion, while another incident saw a safeguarding alert being issued when a patient switched to smaller regular meals, as this was interpreted as not enough "main meals" being offered.

Mr Burstow said it can waste countless hours of valuable administrative time in processing these pointless reports, distracting attention from genuinely serious cases.

"Those systems only work if they are used properly and the people running them do not become bogged down investigating cases that have nothing to do with protecting people from abuse," he explained.

Last week, the government announced that Dame Fiona Caldicott will lead a new review into the sharing of NHS patient data, with the aim of improving care standards further.

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