Safeguarding Adults at Risk of Harm Toolkit

Safeguarding Adults toolkit

Legislation has been produced within the UK’s four nations since 2003 to protect adults from abuse. Along with other national guidance, these pieces of legislation clarify the roles of the three key players in adult safeguarding, namely social care, health care and the police. Social care takes the lead in adult safeguarding but primary care is key in identifying adults at risk, and therefore reporting abuse or potential abuse to the local safeguarding adults team.

The Safeguarding Adults at Risk of Harm toolkit provides infosheets, templates, and handy guides for all the primary care team. The toolkit assists good knowledge and use of relevant legislation when promoting good care for adults at risk of harm, or those lacking the capacity to make decisions for themselves.

The toolkit can be used by any general practice in the UK.

Introduction to the RCGP Safeguarding Adults at Risk of Harm toolkit [PDF]

This toolkit will be updated on a regular basis and further resources will be added throughout 2017-18.

Types and indicators of abuse

Categories of abuse encountered in safeguarding adults at risk of harm

Abuse may present in many different ways in primary care. Having good knowledge of the different types of abuse will help you identify adults who are at risk of being, or who are being, harmed.

Making a safeguarding referral to your local Safeguarding Adults Team

Deciding if a safeguarding adult referral is needed for your patient can seem a complex task. These tools will help you with these decision and how to make an effective referral should it be needed.

Writing a report and breaching confidentiality legally

Sections 44 and 45 of the Care Act 2014 clarify the legal requirement to provide information to a Safeguarding Adults Board if requested to do so. The following infosheet provides greater detail:

The following infosheet gives advice for good report writing.

The MPS website has further useful advice on report writing.

Practice resources

Primary care is a key player in safeguarding adults at risk of harm. All practices should have a clinical lead for adult safeguarding. This could be a practice nurse of GP. Their role is to embed safeguarding culture within the practice and they should be supported by the practice team in doing so.

Sample practice policy for safeguarding adults at risk of harm

A sample policy for the practice to use is included below:

Processing and storing of safeguarding information in primary care

Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC)

This guidance aims to clarify the role of GPs in relation to their local MARAC to support patients experiencing domestic abuse

Online Learning

Capacity and the law

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 in England and Wales

Adults who lack capacity to make decisions for themselves are some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) was designed to both empower these adults and protect them where necessary.

The following resources give guidance on the MCA

Adults with Incapacity Act in Scotland

This act was implemented in 2000 and applies to adults over 16 years of age who lack the ability to make decisions for themselves. This link provides information on the act for health care workers.

The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland published this guide in 2016 to support people with cognitive impairment to make their own decisions.

Safeguarding legislation and background of the toolkit

What is adult safeguarding?

The concept for adult safeguarding in England arose as a result of No Secrets: guidance on developing and implementing multi-agency policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse. This document was produced as a result of abusive care at a series of homes for people with a learning disability in the Reading area. A similar document was produced in Wales; In Safe Hands: Implementing adult protection procedures in Wales.

Since the production of these documents, legislation has been implemented in England in The Care Act 2014 and in Wales in The Social Services and Well-Being Act 2014. In Scotland legislation The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 is used. In Northern Ireland The Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults (2003) Order is the key legislation. Along with other national guidance these pieces of legislation clarify the roles of the three key players in adult safeguarding, namely social care, health care and the police.

Social care takes the lead in adult safeguarding but primary care is key in identifying adults at risk, and therefore reporting abuse or potential abuse to the local safeguarding adults team.

Good knowledge and use of The Mental Capacity Act 2005 in England and Wales, The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 in Scotland and (when it comes into force), The Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) in Northern Ireland is essential when promoting good care for adults at risk of harm. Patients lacking the capacity to make decisions for themselves are some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

Watch this short video clip and realise what a difference you as a GP can make.

Project Background

Developed by the RCGP’s Clinical Innovation and Research Centre (CIRC), with support from NHS England (London region), this toolkit combines a body of work to assist general practices.

Acknowledgements

The toolkit has been developed by Dr Elisabeth Alton, RCGP Clinical Lead for Safeguarding (2016-17) and Dr Joy Shacklock, RCGP Clinical Champion for Safeguarding (2017-18). 

The authors would like to thank all those who contributed to the production of this toolkit for their time, thoughts and enthusiasm for this project, and in particular:

i) RCGP Safeguarding (Adults and Children) Steering Group
ii) CIRC team within RCGP
iii) the developers of all the resources credited within the toolkit.

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