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Child abuse guide “part of the answer” – GPs

Thursday, 3 May 2001

Dr Ralph Wiles Chairperson

Child abuse guide “part of the answer” – GPs

The Recommended Referral Process for Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect guide for GPs, released today by the Ministers of Health and Social Services, is an “important part of the answer, but not the entire answer” to combating the problem, say GPs.

Royal NZ College of General Practitioners Chairperson Dr Ralph Wiles, who spoke at the launch this afternoon, said the College had been involved in drafting the document, and welcomed its release. “However, we should not, in congratulating ourselves on a job well done, delude ourselves that we have provided anything more than part of the answer.”

General Practice has responded to the situation by drafting this guide, and the Ministry of Health is facilitating training for GPs and IPAs who want help in the implementation of the processes, he explained. “Those are important steps, and they will undoubtedly lead to an increased ability on the part of GPs to detect and deal with suspected child abuse and neglect,” Dr Wiles said.

“General practitioners, in common with the rest of the community, have a very real desire to do all that they can to combat the problem not only of child abuse but also the broader issue of family violence. But we cannot afford to become complacent and assume that abuse will always be detected and dealt with by front line professionals – be they doctors, nurses, teachers or police. It remains a community problem and we all, as individual members of the community, have a role to play in preventing it.”

ends

Contact: Dr Ralph Wiles (07) 886-5239 Claire Austin, CEO, (04) 496-5999 or Rex Widerstrom, Communications, (04) 496-5962


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