Baby P reaction ‘could damage children’

A “knee-jerk” reaction to the Baby P tragedy could cause damage to the care of children in the long run, local authorities warn.

The Local Government Association (LGA) claims that children may now be taken into care unnecessarily.

Chair of the association, Margaret Eaton, will speak at a summit of child protection later today, when she will call for a “pause for thought” and claim that any rash reaction could lead to “irreparable, long-term damage” to child protection services.

“These sad events shine a light on the onerous responsibility councils bear in working with the most vulnerable children and families, and the equally onerous responsibility we ask individual members of staff, children’s social workers especially, to carry on our behalf,” she is expected to say later.

“But let us be clear – poor performance at the frontline in any of our services must be effectively challenged, in this area above all, and where good support does not result in improvement, it has to be dealt with firmly.

“But that’s no excuse for a witch hunt, which is not only unreasonable, but also threatens to be seriously counter-productive.”

Ms Eaton will also claim that there is a risk of repeating the “depressing pattern of the past”.

In a seperate devopment, the doctor who failed to detect Baby P’s injuries just two days before the child died has been suspended by the General Medical Council (GMC).

During the GMC investigation of Dr Sabah al-Zayyat’s examination of Baby P, and her conduct regarding the case, she is suspended from practising.

Allegedly, the boy had been “cranky” during the time of the examination. As a result, the doctor decided not to carry out the full procedure, despite spotting bruises.

“The investigation will decide what further penalties are to be taken, and could result in no penalty, further suspension, or even permanent removal from the medical register.

“My professional career has been devoted to the care of children,” Dr Al-Zayyat said in a statement released by the Medical Protection Society.

“Like everyone involved in this case, I have been deeply affected by the shocking and tragic circumstances of this young child’s death.”

Eighteen-month-old Baby P died last year after suffering a catalogue of abuse at the hands of his mother, her boyfriend and their lodger.