Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Children and young people in out-of-home care: are GPs ready and willing to provide comprehensive health assessments for this vulnerable group?

Susan M. Webster A B and Meredith Temple-Smith A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A General Practice and Primary Health Care Academic Centre, Melbourne Medical School, University of Melbourne, 200 Berkeley Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: s.webster@pgrad.unimelb.edu.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 16(4) 296-303 https://doi.org/10.1071/PY10019
Submitted: 26 May 2010  Accepted: 27 September 2010   Published: 3 December 2010

Abstract

Children living in out-of-home care because of abuse or neglect are among the most vulnerable in Australia. In 2005 the Royal Australasian College of Physicians highlighted the need for increased attention to the health of such children and recommended regular health assessment. This qualitative study explored the views of a purposive sample of 20 GPs about what would influence GP willingness and readiness to undertake comprehensive health assessments for children entering out-of-home care. Ethical concerns, training, professional development needs, medico-legal issues, workforce and financial pressures and communication problems with the child protection sector were among key factors identified. Professional values about continuity of health care for children emerged as a new issue with important policy implications. This is the first in-depth study in Australia of GP perspectives about systematic health assessments for children in child protection and sheds new light on the low GP uptake of such assessments for at-risk population groups.


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