If you identify a potential safeguarding issue and you are unsure of how to proceed, you should refer to Trust policies and have a look at the flowcharts that show what action you should take. You should always discuss any safeguarding issue with your line manager, and record the outcome of that discussion.
You will find a list of frequently asked questions and answers on this website.
For further advice, you are encouraged to contact either of the Specialist Practitioners at the Safeguarding Team. Usually, they should be able to provide advice over the phone. Alternatively you can use email. The outcome of your enquiry will be recorded on EPEX.
Complex cases are referred to Angela Lacy (Deputy Named Nurse), but in the first instance the Specialist Practitioners will record the details of the case. They are your first point of contact.
For advice out of hours contact the on call manager via switchboard. Alternatively, if you are unsure of how to proceed with any concerns, you can discuss the case with Social Services. Before contacting Social Services for advice, be sure that you are clear about information sharing guidance and policy.
For non-clinical matters and general inquiries, contact Sarah Evason (PA/Secretary) or Suzanne Daniels (Administrative Support)
If for any reason you have difficulty accessing advice from within Mersey Care you can contact Social Services for adult or children services. Urgent cases will warrant direct contact with police or social services
Frontline staff are frequently concerned about the impact on 'therapeutic relationships' when following good practice in safeguarding.
See below for collaborative working and consent.
You should be prepared to exercise judgement.
Generally, consent should be sought when sharing information outside of NHS health services involved in the care of the service user e.g. when making referrals.
Obtaining consent/agreement for referrals to Social Services can be problematic and in some circumstances might affect a relationship with a service user. This is not a justification for not seeking agreement. Likewise, fear of damaging a relationship is no reason for not sharing information when there is a requirement/need to do so.
In non-emergencies, when sharing information without consent the matter should have first been discussed with a manger. If needed, the Safeguarding Team will help you reach a decision on sharing information.
Contrary to popular misconception, information can be shared without consent where:
Further guidance can be found in Information Sharing Practitioners Guide, Information Sharing and Mental Health and appendix 3 What To Do If You're Worried A Child Is Being Abused (DoH 2006)
Mental Capacity refers to the ability to make decisions themselves about their own life. Some people have difficulties in making such decisions. This is called ‘lacking capacity’.
Under the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) there are now laws governing who can make decisions on someone else’s behalf, which help to safeguard vulnerable people. To find out more, including who to contact if you are concerned, plus an e-learning tool for professionals please visit the Mental Capacity Act page.
The Care Programme Approach is the backbone to service provision and risk assessment/management. Staff should ensure that safeguarding information is included is current and is recorded in this documentation. Care plans should be used to record specific interventions such as monitoring risk.
Common problems include not identifying that potential safeguarding issues have been assessed (even if there are no identified concerns). Occupants of the family home and relationships are not recorded. Ages of children rather than dates of birth are recorded. Not including details of allied professionals.
EPEX supports the CPA. There are specific codes that can assist staff in recording and communicating information
Using EPEX codes will improve information sharing and assist in case management.
Odd number suffix = child
Even number = adult
SG1 = Child: safeguarding information (communication/advice with Mersey Care)
SG 2 = Adult: (as above)
SG3 = Child: Information sharing (contacts with other agencies /professionals outside of Mersey Care)
SG4 = Adult (same as above)
SG5 = Child referral to Social Services
SG6 = Adult referral to Social Services
SG7 = Child:Professionals’ meeting/case conference
SG8 = Adult as above
You do not need to contact the team for 'information only' purposes
In ideal circumstances, consent to share information should always be obtained. There are circumstances when confidentiality and obtaining consent to share information is overridden by the level of risk to a child and/or adult. Assessing whether risk is significant can be difficult. Use the assessment criteria as a guide. Examine section 3.5 of Mersey Care Policy & Procedure for Confidentiality and information Sharing. This identifies exceptional circumstances when information can, or must, be shared.
Any professional who becomes aware that a woman is pregnant and has cause to be concerned that:
should make a referral to Children Social Services as soon as possible. Other professionals ordinarily involved with the care of the mother and unborn child should be kept informed of circumstances that would impact on their wellbeing (see information sharing).
Circumstances when you should consider referral for a pre-birth assessment:
You can discuss any case with the Safeguarding Team. You can also discuss a case with Social Services without consent providing details are anonymised
Some Social Services departments tend to only accept referrals for Pre Birth Assessment 25 weeks plus into pregnancy. But, it is good practice to at least discuss the case at the earliest opportunity and decide if there are currently any indicators causing safeguarding concerns, for the unborn baby. There may be occasion were assessment prior to 25 weeks is appropriate. Record details of any initial discussion with Social Services in patient service in records.
Consent should be obtained from the unborn's mother when making a referral. There are specific circumstances when consent is not required. If consent is withheld, discuss the case with the Safeguarding Team.
Return to the Safeguarding Service Home Page.