Safeguarding adults at risk toolkit

Dr Joy Shacklock, RCGP Clinical Champion for Good Practice Safeguarding

As GPs we have a very unique and privileged role. Patients and their families allow us into their lives, often at times of great distress, to support and help them. This is a great privilege, but also gives us great responsibility. It is when we get into the realms of safeguarding that these two roles, privilege and responsibility, most clearly meet. Combining these roles enables us to be powerful advocates for our most vulnerable patients.

The RCGP's Good Practice Safeguarding Project is working towards the vision that the safeguarding of adults and children will be embedded into every day routine general practice and become a normal part of our ongoing holistic care. Throughout the year we will be developing resources to support this.

Safeguarding is not new to general practice, and practices will already be aware of their duties and responsibilities around safeguarding. This toolkit is aimed at taking safeguarding to the next level in primary care – to really focus on how we implement and embed safeguarding practice, ethos and culture.

Initially developed by former Clinical Champion Dr Elisabeth Alton with support from NHS England (London region), the toolkit contains resources to assist general practices to identify adults who are at risk of being, or who are being, harmed and making an effective referral should it be needed.

The toolkit provides info-sheets, templates, and handy guides for all the primary care team, including top tips for deciding if you need to and how to make a safeguarding adult referral, a sample practice safeguarding policy and guidance on the management of safeguarding information.

The toolkit will be evolving over the next few months and are hoping to add further resources on domestic abuse, MAPPA, financial abuse and abuse of the elderly.

Many organisations have already produced very helpful guidance for health professionals such as the General Medical Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Care Quality Commission and the Department of Health to name a few.

This toolkit is there to complement the guidance that is already available. Every safeguarding case is different, so we haven't produced prescriptive guidance; it’s about providing practice advice and resources to allow practice teams to be able to make more informed decisions in partnership with patients. We hope it will generate lots of discussion both within, and outside of, general practice.

Alongside this we will be developing a training video to emphasise the important and crucial role every team member plays in safeguarding patients and a quick essentials guide to safeguarding children.

We will also be running 4 free full day educational events across the UK aimed at practice leads:

  • North West England – 16 Jan 2018
  • Cardiff – 31 Jan 2018
  • Belfast – 7 Feb 2018
  • Edinburgh – 20 Feb 2018

More details will be available soon on the RCGP website. If you would like to be informed when these events are available to book, please email


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