Between July and October last year we issued for consultation draft guidance on the involvement of GPs in adult protection. The purpose of the draft guidance was to provide advice on how to integrate GPs into multi-agency adult protection arrangements, so that they were better prepared to participate. In addition to providing advice to those responsible for managing the delivery of adult protection, the guidance also sought to provide an overview of adult protection for GPs. It also contained guidance on some of the considerations that would be required to be made by both GPs and social workers when dealing with possible adult protection cases, particularly considerations around confidentiality and consent. The guidance advised that local protocols should be developed to support better working with GPs in each Adult Protection Committee area.
The response to the consultation was generally positive. Respondents supported the central ideas within the draft guidance, including the development of local protocols. There were, however, a number of important suggestions made to improve the draft. These included being clearer about who the guidance was aimed at; giving greater acknowledgement to effective local protocols already in place; and strengthening the sections on sharing information.
The revised draft guidance addresses these issues and others which were considered to have merit. The document makes a clear distinction between advice for those responsible for managing adult protection and those implementing, particularly GPs and social workers. The revised draft guidance also attempts to provide clear and unambiguous advice on the complex issue of making a referral where the GP may have concerns that this breaches the patient's confidentiality. The document now contains a flowchart which GPs should find useful when considering their involvement in the adult protection process. This should be supported by the full guidance, which gives GPs a clear understanding of the points where they may be required to be involved in adult protection, and what will be expected of them.
The key aim of the draft guidance remains the same: to provide advice on how GPs can most effectively be involved in adult protection, noting the different considerations that should be made by a range of professionals at different points.
Our intention is to produce the final guidance on the basis of this round of consultation.
Email: Susan Edmondson