Safeguarding legislation

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.

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