National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland: Guidance for Health Professionals in Scotland

This guidance is intended to act as a practical reference point for all healthcare staff working within an adult and child service context.

It highlights the specific roles and responsibilities of specialist staff working in particular settings wherever children and young people will usually be seen.

It sets out the framework to aid practitioners in their role in dealing with child protection concerns.

Chapter 8 Education, Learning and Development for Healthcare staff

This section:

  • Highlights roles and responsibilities for education, learning and development.

Child protection education and training is fundamental for all staff employed by NHS Scotland. Access to training, relevant to the level of responsibility and involvement of the professional, in child protection work should be provided through pre and post registration education and training and within induction courses. The respective clinician and senior nurse for child protection and the clinical managers are responsible for ensuring that they and their staff have an appropriate knowledge base and skills. This will be achieved through training, case review and clinical supervision.

Since the launch of National Guidance on Child Protection in 2010, two key documents have been produced to support education and training in NHSScotland. These are:

Scottish Government National Framework for Child Protection Learning and Development in Scotland

This is a multi-agency framework for all those who have role in keeping children safe. It introduces a new way of describing the workforce to ensure consistency in practice and understanding. It is a multi-agency document for those who commission, develop, purchase and deliver education training and learning for those working with children and young people, to help them protect children and young people from risk of harm. This framework does not replace any local multi-agency or single-agency frameworks but aims to enhance and support then as required. Child Protection Committees will have the strategic responsibility for delivering the framework within their local areas.

NHS Education for Scotland Core Competency Framework for the Protection of Children

This Core Competency Framework has been developed for all disciplines, professions and staff groups undertaking a clinical role within NHSScotland. The twin aims of the framework are: (1) to describe the key areas of child protection work that are common and core across all disciplines, professions and staff groups with a clinical role, and (2) to describe the recommended core knowledge and understanding necessary to support these areas of work. This framework is closely aligned to the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (NHS KSF) (Scottish Executive, 2004).

These documents set out the standards and competencies that NHS Boards should adopt when designing and developing education and training for their workforce.

All medical staff require both single-agency and multi-agency training in the identification of children or young people who may have been abused or neglected and in the implementation of the local child protection guidelines. Formal and informal undergraduate and postgraduate training should be available and include some components of inter-agency collaboration.

Paediatricians and police surgeons who are likely to be involved in specialist examinations of children or young people suspected of abuse or neglect require further training in clinical skills, including videocolposcopy, report writing and court processes. Access to regular Continuing Medical Education to update and maintain these skills is essential. National agreement on core skills and experience leading to a process of accreditation is recommended.

All specialist paediatricians and police surgeons undertaking joint paediatric/
forensic examinations require regular peer review, both locally and nationally. Informal opportunities to seek advice and support from peers in the management of complex and difficult cases should also be available.

The Child Protection Committee and managers have the responsibility for identifying multi-agency training needs. CPCs have the lead role in developing and promoting multi-disciplinary training programmes.

Education and training enables policy makers and practitioners to evaluate the developing body of knowledge from research and implement relevant changes to practice.

Staff Training

All healthcare staff must complete child protection training in line with their local child protection training strategy. Advice will be available from line managers and child protection department. Training should be planned as part of a personal development program (PDP) and should be linked to the Knowledge and Skills Framework. Healthcare staff will have:

  • An awareness of child protection guidance and procedures.
  • Confidence in raising concerns about a child or young person.
  • A clear understanding of their role in the process of protecting children and young people.
  • Access to advice and support through child protection team.


All healthcare staff should have access to clinical supervision on a regular basis. Supervision facilitates discussion and reflection on cases and enables staff to be more objective about their involvements and to seek advice on the approaches that they need to take. Healthcare staff working with complex child protection cases must seek and have access to supervision and be supported by their managers to have protected time if they have specific responsibilities for child protection cases.


Email: Fiona McKinlay

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