BMA publishes guidance to help doctors protect vulnerable adults

Individuals more likely to be arrested or taken to ED if living indpependently or with family

New guidance has been published by the British Medical Association in the form of a toolkit for GPs to provide practical advice on promoting and protecting the wellbeing of vulnerable adults.

Although principally aimed at GPs, any professional working in health care settings with vulnerable adults will find it useful.

The term “vulnerable adults” covers an extremely wide range of individuals, including people with a learning disability.

The toolkit covers a range of topics, including:

  • Definitions of a vulnerable adult
  • What constitutes abuse and neglect
  • The part played in safeguarding by the mental capacity act
  • Deprivation of liberty safeguards
  • Appropriate sharing of information

The toolkit highlights the obligation doctors have to protect vulnerable adults, including identifying abusers, identifying systemic healthcare failures and reporting poor performance by health professionals. It includes examples of good practice and signposts key guidance, relevant legislation and useful names and addresses.
Safeguarding vulnerable adults – a tool kit for general practitioners – pdf

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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