New system to help prevent child abuse

A new £9m online system to identify children who may be in danger of abuse or neglect has been commissioned for use in hospitals across England.  The system will alert doctors and nurses in accident and emergency departments if children had urgent treatment at other hospitals or are know to be at risk.  The aim is to roll it out by 2015.

The government has said tragedies that followed missed warnings, such as the cases of Peter Connelly or Victoria Climbie, might be avoided with the use of a shared common database.  Under the new system, children arriving at a hospital accident and emergency or urgent care centre will be checked on the NHS computer system.  The system is also intended to make it easier for doctors and nurses to see if patients had other emergency admissions elsewhere in the country.