GP Training: Child and adult safeguarding

Trainees need Level 3 training in both child and adult safeguarding. 

At the start of the training programme in the trainee’s first post in ST1 all trainees need to receive training on both child and adult safeguarding and in particular have the knowledge of the appropriate action to take if there are any concerns. This can be done through local training or online resources and documented by the trainee in their ePortfolio.

This learning then needs to be applied throughout training. Information on both child and adult safeguarding needs to be documented within the trainee’s ePortfolio within each training year and made available to the ARCP panels. 

It is recommended that demonstration of on-going learning come from participatory and non-participatory training activities.


  • Attending face to face training
  • Group case discussion
  • Reflection on the learning from a case the professional has been involved in and how this applied to their practice
  • Webinars
  • Attendance at safeguarding practice meetings
  • Demonstrating how learning gained from reading the RCGP Child Safeguarding and Adult Safeguarding toolkits has been applied to clinical practice


  • E-Learning
  • Reading the RCGP Child Safeguarding and Adult Safeguarding toolkits
  • Relevant safeguarding guidelines of journal articles

Both participatory and non-participatory learning which supports safeguarding needs to be linked in the ePortfolio to the clinical experience group,‘People with health disadvantages and vulnerabilities’.

Minimum requirements

All trainees require in date evidence of level 3 safeguarding for both adult and child safeguarding from the start or early part of their training in ST1 and thereafter throughout their training.

Going forwards all trainees then need a knowledge update annually and this needs to include a demonstration of their knowledge, key safeguarding information and the appropriate action to take if there are any concerns. In addition, all trainees require a minimum of one participatory piece of learning and reflection for both adult and child safeguarding in each training year*. Evidence of learning for both the knowledge component and reflective exercises need to be documented in the trainees learning log.

*It is recognised that if the trainee does not have any posts within a specific training year which include children then although it would be still recommended for these trainees to understand and document their learning about child safeguarding this would not be mandatory.

As with all areas of the curriculum the ES will be asked if the trainee is competent in safeguarding in their final review. However, if in any post the supervisor has concerns about the trainee they will need close supervision and support when dealing with cases that may have safeguarding implications.

The Intercollegiate Documents and RCGP supplementary guidance on safeguarding

Nationally recognised frameworks have been designed to guide all health professionals and their teams to identify the competencies they need in order to safeguard children and adults. These include:

The Intercollegiate Documents (ICDs)

RCGP supplementary guide

The ICDs and the RCGP supplementary guide refer to a minimum number of hours required for safeguarding training. GP trainees are not expected to reference ‘number of hours’ within their learning log. If a trainee demonstrates within each training year a range of participatory and non-participatory learning in both child and adult safeguarding as documented above, this will be considered equivalent.

Adult and child safeguarding FAQs

Why has the safeguarding requirements changed?

Intercollegiate documents and the RCGP supplementary guidance, which has had four-nation approval, have recently been updated and published. In addition several GP practices have been criticised during CQC inspections for their GP trainees not being up to date with both level 3 adult and children safeguarding. The previous guidance on safeguarding for GP trainees was vague as to when this needed to be done and many trainees were not completing this until the end of training. There was also no requirement for adult safeguarding during GP training.

Do I have to complete the requirements as detailed in the Intercollegiate documents?

You need to be aware of these documents but they are based on a certain number of hours, which need to be completed. The RCGP curriculum and its assessment requirements will need you to document your understanding and experiences in adult and child safeguarding but not the amount of time it has taken you do this.

What are the minimum requirements?

You need to have demonstrated some form of knowledge update in your ePortfolio annually and a reflective log entry on both adult and child safeguarding.

How do I demonstrate my knowledge?

This can be done through elearning, attending local workshops, looking at the RCGP toolkits. There is a list of activities on the RCGP website as to how this can be done. For example attending a single workshop if it covered both adult and child safeguarding would be sufficient to cover both areas. The knowledge update needs to be done early in each training year and not left until the end.

Do adult safeguarding modules at level 3 exist as I haven't been able to find one?

Trainees need to be compliant in adult safeguarding at level 3, but as this is a new recommendation it is recognised that these are not yet widely available. The knowledge of adult safeguarding can still be done through reading and any encounters with patients where safeguarding has been a concern. It is not expected for you to pay personally for a commercial level 3 adult safeguarding course.

If I havent been directly involved in a safeguarding case how do I write a reflective entry?

It is recognised that not every trainee will be directly involved in clinical cases on safeguarding, but this can be achieved through attending local safeguarding meetings, group discussions, webinars, reading about cases for example.

I am in ST1 but I don't have a GP placement during this time, do I have to complete the child safeguarding requirements?

If you have placements, which involve children for example Paediatrics, Accident and Emergency, Primary care, Child Psychiatry etc then you will need to have completed the child safeguarding requirements and demonstrated these in your Portfolio. If your placements for that year do not involve children then you would not be expected to include this in your Portfolio.

I am in ST1 but I don't do Primary Care until my last post in ST1. The requirements state that I need to demonstrate my knowledge in child safeguarding early in the training year but does this apply to me?

As above you wouldn't need to demonstrate your understanding in safeguarding until you started a post which involved children, so although you wouldn't be doing this at the beginning of your ST1 time, it would need to be done at the start of your Primary care post and not left until it was nearly over.

I completed adult and child safeguarding in my foundation post, do I need to do it again?

Yes - the requirements are for a knowledge update in each year of training ST1/2/3 and a reflective entry for both adult and child safeguarding.

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