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16 February 2000

HEALTH VISITORS SHOULD BE MORE INVOLVED WITH
WELSH CHILDREN IN CARE, SAYS CPHVA

Health visitors and school nurses should have greater involvement in the welfare of children in care, in the wake of the report into the 20-year care scandal in Wales, the Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association said today (Wednesday, 16 February).

The CPHVA Professional Officer for Wales, Ann Owen called for every child in care to have "a comprehensive health development plan", with input from health visitors and school nurses.

She said: "One of the problems is that social services' departments, unlike GPs, don't always notify health visitors when a child in care moves from home to home. This culture of secrecy should be broken down."

"The real issue here is that children aren't believed when they report abuse. What is also worrying is that when a child reports abuse to a healthcare professional, that professional may not necessarily be believed by social services."

Ms Owen welcomed the public inquiry report's recommendation that an independent children's commissioner for Wales should be appointed to oversee complaints and whistle blowing procedures.

"However, this should not become another layer of bureaucracy, otherwise we will be having a repeat of this dreadful scandal in ten years time," she said.

Ms Owen said: "I would like to express our regret and sympathy for the children and families involved. We look forward as a professional body that represents the majority of health visitors and school nurses to working with central government and the Welsh Assembly to implement the report's recommendations in full."

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NOTE TO NEWS EDITORS

For further information, please contact:

Ann Owen 0468 931 297
Shaun Noble Press Officer (020) 7939 7043 Mobile 0468 69 39 40

The CPHVA is an autonomous professional section of the Manufacturing, Science and Finance union. The CPHVA represents more than 17,500 health visitors, school nurses, practice nurses and registered nurses working in the community in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

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