Vulnerable Family Meetings: A Way of Promoting Team Working in GPs’ Everyday Responses to Child Maltreatment?
This study uses observations of team meetings and interviews with 17 primary care professionals in four GP practices in England to generate hypotheses about how “vulnerable family” team meetings might support responses by GPs to maltreatment-related concerns and joint working with other professionals. These meetings are also called “safeguarding meetings”. The study found that vulnerable family meetings were used as a way of monitoring children or young people and their families and supporting risk assessment by information gathering. Four factors facilitated the meetings: meaningful information flow into the meetings from other agencies, systematic ways of identifying cases for discussion, limiting attendance to core members of the primary care team and locating the meeting as part of routine clinical practice. Our results generate hypotheses about a model of care that can be tested for effectiveness in terms of service measures, child and family outcomes, and as a potential mechanism for other professionals to engage and support GPs in their everyday responses to vulnerable and maltreated children. The potential for adverse as well as beneficial effects should be considered from involving professionals outside the core primary care team (e.g., police, children’s social care, education and mental health services).
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