December 21, 2014

Child welfare legal checks

Childcare legal checks are primarily introduced into the UK through Acts, such as the Childcare Act of 2006, the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act of 2006 and the Children Act of 1989. These checks are established to prevent the neglect, abuse, and harm of children (anyone under the age of 18) in childcare settings, and to promote their positive development. For this reason, the UK government also established the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) in 2006. Organisations working with government agencies, such as the UK Charity Commission and charities, such as the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), work together to develop guidance for policies and procedures that will promote the wellbeing of children.

Childcare Act of 2006

In the UK, the Childcare Act of 2006 came into being during July 2006, placing a duty on all Local Authorities to improve the wellbeing and safeguard young children. The Act therefore applies to all those working within the Childcare sector and those who care for children in any capacity.

The Act applies to the UK government’s broader initiative of “Every Child Matters” to enhance services and outcomes, such as childcare, pre-school provision for children, and parental guidance / information services. Every Child Matters promotes working together to safeguard children.

Safeguarding Children

The term “safeguarding” of children, extends far further than addressing harm or abuse of children to include prevention and also promotion of development. Part of the definition includes any agency in the UK working with children must minimise any risk of harm to a child through controlled measures, all agencies also have to follow local authority policies and procedures for action and addressing concerns related to children in care. These measures not only protect children, but also enable organisations and individuals to secure their reputations. Childcare legal checks are therefore a valuable means for organisations and childcarers to promote confidence in their services

Childcare Legal Checks

Agencies and individuals who provide childcare can register with the UK Charity Commission as a means of meeting the legal requirements to operate within a childcare setting. These legal checks include:

(a) Qualifications in the policies and procedures which they have in place for keeping children safe

(b) Other training such as in first aid

(c) Disclosure of Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) – enhanced CRB

(d) Public liability insurance where necessary

Where proof of qualifications, a CRB check and suitable references may have sufficed to meet legal checks for working in childcare, the Independent Safeguarding Authority is now more involved in determining suitability of those working with vulnerable groups, including children. Ofsted, through their registers, carry out legal checks on childcare providers.

Voluntary Registration on Ofsted’s General Childcare Register (vGCR)

Certain childcare professionals are required to register with Ofsted as previously discussed; however other individuals working in childcare can do so voluntarily. The benefit of this registration is that childcare workers gain basic childcare training skills, an enhanced CRB check that proves their suitability to work with children, public liability insurance, and further training in first aid and working with children who have special needs. Parents can also use the register as a means of verifying that a person is suitable to care for their child because they have met childcare legal checks.

Earlobe repair following long term dilation Mr Richards of Aurora clinics shows how to repair split a split earlobe. The earlobe in this case had a wide opening following serial dilation over the years.
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What role does the midwife involve?

Midwifery is one of the most exciting and rewarding careers you can pursue, and is something many operating in neonatal nursing jobs aim to achieve.

What does the job involve?

Many people assume that the midwife’s role is simply to help deliver babies, but this is not the case. Midwifery involves caring for the mother, the father and the baby both before and after the baby is born. Midwives are an important source of support, information and advice for expectant parents and also play an extremely important role after the baby is born.

Pregnant women are put in touch with a midwife when their pregnancy is confirmed. They will see a midwife at various points during their pregnancy and the midwife will help to answer any questions, monitor their general health and wellbeing, ease worries and concerns and be a general source of support for the mother. Often, expectant parents are anxious and nervous about the arrival of their baby, especially if it is their first child and they may have lots of questions and queries. The midwife can help to reassure them and give them advice about parenting, labour and birth.

During labour, midwives can literally play a vital role – they will be there throughout the birth to reassure the parents, administer pain relief, encourage the mother with her breathing, talk her through the different stages of labour and eventually deliver the baby. If there are complications, the midwife may call for additional help from an obstetrician.

After the baby has been born, the midwife will continue to care for the mother and baby. Usually the midwife visits the mother at home a couple of times to check the health of both the mother and baby and offer advice and support during the first ten days. When the midwife is happy that the mother and baby are both well and the parents are coping well, they will stop visiting the mother and a health visitor will take over this duty.

What qualities does a midwife need?

Being a midwife may seem to be a lovely job on the surface. Many people have a rose-tinted image of neonatal nursing careers but being a midwife is very physically and emotionally draining and there are challenges which you will have to confront on a daily basis; sometimes, there are complications and you will have to act fast, under pressure. As with all jobs in medicine, there is not always a happy ending and you will be required to offer emotional support and counselling for parents who have lost a baby or have a baby that is very ill.

Midwives work long hours and are required to work night shifts, evening shifts, weekends and bank holidays.

In order to be a midwife it is important to be understanding, patient, compassionate and sympathetic. You will also need good communication and social skills and you should have an understanding of practical and cultural matters related to childbirth.

How do you become a midwife?

In order to become a midwife you must complete a midwifery course. Many higher education institutions offer midwifery courses and they have different entry requirements, so it is important to check with the individual organisation. The courses combine academic study with practical training and students will complete practical placements in clinical settings in addition to written assessments, practical assessments and exams.

Why is sterilisation important?

Sterilisation is the process of removing all traces of bacteria and other germs. It is an important process, which helps to reduce the risk of infection and prevent the spread of infections and illnesses.

When is sterilisation required?

Sterilisation is used in a variety of different clinical settings, including hospitals, dental surgeries and community health centres, as well as at home and in outlets or places providing food.

Why is sterilisation important?

Sterilisation for babies

Sterilisation is very important for babies because their immune systems are underdeveloped and they are consequently prone to developing illnesses and infections. Sterilising babies’ bottles and other equipment helps to reduce the risk of them developing infections such as thrush and gastroenteritis. In the past, when parents did not use sterilisers, gastroenteritis was the cause of hundreds of deaths amongst babies. Some experts say that sterilising is particularly important for babies that have been bottle-fed because they are not taking in colostrums from the mother’s breast milk; colostrums helps the baby’s immune system to become stronger.

Sterilisation in the medical industry

Sterilisation is very important in the medical industry. Without sterilisation, infections would fly around and thousands of lives would be lost. Sterilisation helps to prevent the development and spread of infection, as well as protecting members of staff working in clinical settings and members of the public.

Sterile services departments work in hospitals and other clinical settings to sterilise medical equipment in order to prevent infection.

Methods of sterilisation

There are various methods which are used b y sterile services departments, which include:

  • Chemicals: chemicals, including phenol, alcohols, chloroform, aldehydes, halides, dyes and quarternary ammonium compounds.
  • Heating: heating can sterilise certain things, for example, food can be reheated to a certain temperature to kill any bacteria or germs. Devices known as autoclaves are often used to sterilise dental and medical equipment; an autoclave sterilises equipment by subjecting it to high pressure steam.
  • Radiation
  • Boiling
  • Sterile filtration: this is a method of removing bacteria which may be used when other methods are not suitable.

Females in medical history

Historically, medicine was a male trade and women were mainly confined to the roles of nurse and midwife. As time has gone by, more and more women have become involved in medicine and there are now thousands of women doctors working in the UK and across the world.

Famous women in the history of medicine include:


Hygeia was the ancient Greek goddess of health. Her stature as a goddess helped to spread the message of hygiene, cleanliness and healthy living.


Trotula was a woman who lived in Salerno, Southern Italy, in the 11th Century and a chair of medicine at the nearby School of Salerno. It is believed that the first medical school was established at the School of Salerno and women were able to train as physicians and professors of medicine.

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson is one of the most famous women doctors of all time; she played an instrumental role in encouraging the acceptance of female professionals in the world of medicine, which was dominated by males at the time. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson followed the example of Elizabeth Blackwell, an American doctor who worked in the 1800’s. Garrett Anderson met Blackwell at the age of 24 and was inspired to train as a nurse. After completing her training, she applied to train as a doctor but was rejected by organisations in England. She subsequently went to study in France and graduated from the University of Paris in 1870. After graduating, she returned to London and set up her own practice. In 1874, she opened the London School of Medicine for Women and in 1876 parliament passed an act, which allowed women to enter all fields of the medical profession.

Sophia Jex-Blake

Sophia Jex-Blake was a contemporary of Elizabeth Garrett-Anderson and worked alongside her to open the Edinburgh School of Medicine for Women in 1887 and campaign for women to be allowed to study medicine at British universities. Jex-Blake qualified as a doctor in 1877 and went on to open a medical practice in London and a clinic for women who were living in poverty.

Female doctors in history

There are more female doctors working in the UK than ever before; since the 1960’s the number of female medical students has increased ten-fold and figures suggest that by 2017, there will be more female doctors than male doctors for the first time in history.

In the past, women were not allowed to train as doctors and the medical field was dominated by men; women were only allowed to train as nurses and midwives. The first woman doctor to qualify was Dr Elizabeth Garrett-Anderson, who went to study in Paris because she was rejected by British universities. Garret-Anderson graduated from the University of Paris and subsequently set up her own medical practice in London; shortly after, she opened the London School of Medicine for Women and went onto open another medical school for women in Edinburgh. In 1876, an act was finally passed, which allowed women to study medicine.

Women who wanted to study medicine received a great deal of objection from men in the profession and general attitude in society towards women doctors was very negative. Many people campaigned against the decision to allow females to become doctors and women doctors were treated unfavourably in hospitals and clinics.

Female doctors in modern society

Over the last 100 years, the number of women pursuing a career as a doctor has increased enormously and there are now more female medical students than male students. Gender issues have largely subsided and women are now considered equals in the field of medicine. Many women pursue very successful careers in a variety of different medical specialities and many go on to reach very senior positions.