A Care Quality Commission (CQC) review into health services in Rotherham has found that communication between different sectors of the health service remains poor despite the findings of the ‘Jay Report’, which was published in August 2014.

Rotherham has been subjected to intense media and CQC scrutiny since the report was published last year and extensive findings regarding the sexual abuse of 1400 children over 16 years were released into the public domain.

This lack of communication has, reportedly, led to a lack of understanding amongst the various sectors of the health service in Rotherham regarding their roles in preventing child sexual exploitation.

CQC deputy chief inspector, Sue McMillan, was quoted on the CQC website saying ‘We’re disappointed that despite the intense scrutiny on child protection in Rotherham and the help packages that have been made available, services with a key role in child safeguarding are unclear about their responsibilities.’

Her words will certainly vindicate the policy propositions made by the Liberal Democrats, who advocated the integration of health and social care services in their 2015 general election manifesto; a policy pledge with the aim of emphasising care for individual patients.

As a consequence of the review, the CQC has made a number of recommendations to NHS England and Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in order to eliminate these issues of communication and competence within their mechanisms.

Such recommendations involve both NHS England and Rotherham CCG working with GPs to ensure their awareness of local child protection processes and their own roles in said processes whilst instructing both trusts to also ensure that pharmacists, doctors and nurses that participate in the ‘Walk-in centres’ are all aware of their duties to refer young people for STD screenings and raise concerns over child safeguarding.

McMillan went on to say ‘While progress has been made, it is too slow and more is required. […] We know from decades of inquiries that things go wrong for vulnerable children when services do not work together and this is crucial in keeping children safe.’

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