Ground breaking adult safeguarding guidance launched

Martin Kitara, Clinical Engagement Coordinator

The UK's first guidance to help healthcare staff better protect adults who are at risk of abuse or neglect because of the level of care they need has been launched by the Royal College of Nursing.

The Adult Safeguarding: Roles and Competencies for Health Care Staff outlines the professional standards that all staff at healthcare organisations will need to meet if they are to be involved in adult safeguarding.

The guidance was commissioned by NHS England and involved 30 other Royal Colleges and professional healthcare organisations, including the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

The ground breaking new guidance aims to safeguard anyone over the age of 18 at risk of abuse, harm or neglect because of their need for care and or support, who is unable to safeguard themselves.

It is designed to counter both emerging and common forms of abuse, such as ‘cuckooing’, where unscrupulous people move in and take over someone's home, possessions and finances; people trafficking and modern slavery; domestic abuse; and internet abuse, such as being as being the subject of non-consensual online pornography.

It will cover staff working in everything from hospitals to care homes and those who help people to stay living in their own homes and is designed to stamp out all types of abuse.

Dr Joy Shacklock, the RCGP's Clinical Champion for Good Practice and Safeguarding said:

"Safeguarding adults at risk of harm is a key duty for all who work in healthcare. The first Intercollegiate Adult Safeguarding Guidance is a huge step towards ensuring that the health workforce, now and in the future, is equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to work in partnership with patients to safeguard them. The RCGP are delighted to have been involved in the production of this guidance along with other Royal Colleges."

Dawne Garrett, Professional Lead for Older People and Dementia at the RCN and lead author of the new guidance, said:

"Following a plethora of abuse scandals involving adults at risk, healthcare staff now have a set of competencies they need to meet to help them safeguard people from harm. Until now, there hasn't been an equivalent. This is an ambitious document that will help keep safe many adults with differing types of care needs across the UK."

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.

We have a Safeguarding Adults at Risk of Harm toolkit on our website, which provides information sheets, templates, and handy guides for whole general practice 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.


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