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Child Safeguarding Statement

25th May 2018

 

Introduction

Mid West Physiotherapy is a private Chartered Physiotherapy practice which employs 5 physiotherapists and 2 administration staff.  The practice provides physiotherapy services to members of the public including children (defined as persons under 18 years of age).

We have undertaken an assessment of risk of any potential for harm to a child while attending our practice and, following same, we have developed this Child Safeguarding Statement.  The purpose of this Child Safeguarding Statement is to identify how the practice will work to eliminate or manage any risks identified.  It also outlines how our staff have been informed on matters relating to child safety outside of the practice, and procedures for reporting concerns.

 

Our policy and procedures are underpinned by the following:

  • The Children First Act 2015
  • Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017
  • TUSLA Child Safeguarding Guide 2017:  A Guide for Policy, Procedure and Practice

 

Designated liaison personnel

Donnacha Ryan is the Designated Liaison Person (DLP).  Donnacha may be contacted by phoning 061-201444, emailing info@midwestphysio.ie, or writing to Mid West Physiotherapy, 3 University Court, Castletroy, Limerick, V94 X3TF.

Caroline Ryan is the Deputy DLP.  Caroline may be contacted by phoning 061-201444, emailing caroline@midwestphysio.ie, or writing to Mid West Physiotherapy, 3 University Court, Castletroy, Limerick, V94 X3TF.

The DLP acts as a liaison with outside agencies and a resource person to any staff member who has child protection concerns. The DLP is responsible for ensuring that the standard reporting procedure is followed, so that suspected cases of child neglect or abuse are referred promptly to the designated person in the HSE Children and Family Services (TUSLA) or, in the event of an emergency and the unavailability of TUSLA, to An Garda Síochána.

 

Principles to safeguard children from harm

All Chartered Physiotherapists working at Mid West Physiotherapy are “mandated persons” under the Children First Act 2015, thus, the practice undertakes to safeguard children by the following means:

  • Complying with all statutory and legislative obligations regarding child safety.
  • Promoting the general welfare, health, development and safety of children.
  • Having a culture of openness and collaboration with parents/guardians.
  • Appointing a Designated Liaison Person (DLP).  See section 2.
  • Ensuring that all staff have up-to-date information and training on child safety matters and practice procedures*.
  • Developing a procedure for the safe recruitment and selection of staff members to work with children*.
  • Developing procedures for safe working practices to minimise the possibility of harm or accidents happening to children, and to protect staff members from having to take unnecessary risks which may leave them open to accusations of abuse or neglect.  See section 4.
  • Developing a procedure for responding to a complaint from a child or guardian*.
  • Developing a procedure for the management of allegations of abuse or misconduct of a child received against a staff member*.  
  • Developing a reporting procedure for staff who may have reasonable grounds for concern about the safety and welfare of children involved with the practice*.
  • Recording all child safety concerns, reports and complaints, ensuring that all records are kept securely.
  • Cooperating fully with the relevant statutory authorities in relation to child protection and welfare matters.
  • Adhering to confidentiality requirements when dealing with child protection matters.

*All procedures are available to view upon request.

 

Risk assessment

We have carried out a risk assessment of any potential for harm to a child while attending our practice.  We have outlined the identified risks below, and our policies and procedures for dealing with these risks:

(1) Child presents for their initial consultation unaccompanied by a parent/guardian

  • When the initial appointment is made, we advise the person making the booking that all children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian during the initial assessment and treatment by the physiotherapist.  If the child presents for their appointment unaccompanied by a parent/guardian, we will ring the parent/guardian immediately to advise that we cannot conduct the physiotherapy consultation without a parent/ guardian present.

(2) Child presents for a follow-up consultation unaccompanied by a parent/guardian

  • During the initial appointment we will advise the parent/guardian that,we require them to be present at all follow-up appointments.  If the child presents for their appointment unaccompanied by a parent/guardian, we will ring the parent/guardian immediately to advise that we cannot conduct the physiotherapy consultation without a parent/ guardian present. On occasions where the parent/guardian is unable to attend, we will allow a sibling or relative over the age of 18 to be present for the consultation, provided that we have the parent/guardian’s consent for same.

(3) Child is required to remove an item of clothing for the purposes of physiotherapy assessment and treatment

  • Prior to assessment/treatment, a full explanation of the purpose and type of physical examination/intervention will be given to both parent/guardian and child.  Verbal consent is required from both parent/guardian and child before commencing the assessment/treatment.  The parent/guardian and child are kept informed at all stages of the assessment/treatment.  Both the parent/guardian and child are informed that they have the right to request cessation of the assessment/treatment at any stage (this will be documented in the treatment notes).  Undressing is kept to the minimum required for the evaluation. Shorts/vests will be offered to the patient for their comfort and protection. Towels/ covers are used when treating the child on the plinth for their comfort and protection.

(4) Parent/guardian attends for treatment and their child is left in the waiting area.  

  • Children are permitted to wait unaccompanied in the waiting area while their parent is receiving physiotherapy treatment in a consultation room or gym, but only if they are of appropriate age and maturity to do so.  The parent is advised that staff members cannot look after the child and are notified of possible risks such as; the child leaving the premises unnoticed or interacting with strangers (other clients and visitors to the clinic).  The parent is also notified that the waiting area may not always have staff in attendance.  If the child looks for their parent or appears anxious or distressed, a staff member will endeavour to seek the parent/guardian immediately.  Likewise, if the child is engaging in activity which compromises their personal safety or is disruptive to other patients and/or the normal running of the clinic, then a staff member will bring the child to their parent.

(5) Younger child attending a treatment room or rehabilitation area with their parent/guardian 

  • If the child is not in a carrycot or stroller, then full scan of room is carried out by the parent and physiotherapist together before session begins in order to identify safety hazards.  Safety hazards might include plugs, needles, cables, weights and cleaning products.

(6) Physiotherapist suspects that the child is experiencing abuse

  • Physiotherapists are “mandated persons” under the Child Welfare Act 2015 and are legally obliged to report any suspicions or concerns regarding child safety.  The physiotherapist is obliged to follow the practice’s reporting procedure.

(7) Retrospective disclosure from an adult, which may place other children at risk

  • Physiotherapists are “mandated persons” under the Child Welfare Act 2015 and are legally obliged to report any suspicions or concerns regarding child safety.  The physiotherapist is obliged to follow the practice’s reporting procedure.

 

Publication of this document

As well as publication on our website, a hard copy is available in our Reception and is readily accessible to parents/guardians on request.  A copy will be made available to TUSLA and other relevant agencies if requested.

 

Implementation and review

We recognise that implementation is an ongoing process.  Mid West Physiotherapy is committed to the implementation of this Child Safeguarding Statement and the procedures that support our intention to keep children safe from harm while attending our clinic.  This Child Safeguarding Statement will be reviewed annually or as soon as practicable after there has been a material change in any matter to which this statement refers.

 

Making a complaint

Mid West Physiotherapy has procedures in place for responding to a complaint.  A complaint can be made verbally in person or by contacting the DLP in writing marked “private and confidential” (see contact details in section 2).  Please note that children are not restricted as to who they can complain to and can approach any staff member of their choice.

 

Questions

We hope this document has explained any queries regarding child safety that may arise.  If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask us for clarification.  

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