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Watchdog says Baby Peter Trusts 'making progress'

Baby Peter
Image caption Baby Peter died after months of abuse despite being on the at-risk register

NHS trusts which were heavily criticised for their failure to protect Baby Peter have made "significant progress", a watchdog has reported.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it was satisfied systems for protecting children had improved at four trusts, although work still needed to be done.

Peter, from Haringey, north London, had been seen by health services 35 times by the time he died in 2007.

The case led to heavy criticism of social care and some staff were sacked.

The child sustained more than 50 injuries and died aged 17 months at the hands of his mother, her boyfriend and their lodger.

Records not shared

A report last year from the CQC criticised three trusts, particularly Haringey Teaching Primary Care Trust.

It found system failures meant medical records were not shared between different health services and NHS workers did not properly alert social services and police to their concerns.

Since then the CQC has been closely monitoring Haringey and the North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, which commissioned paediatric services from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust.

Baby Peter also attended the Whittington Hospital NHS Trust on one occasion.

The CQC made five key recommendations for improvements at the four trusts.

It said they had now met three and had "almost met" two.

Poor attendance

The watchdog also said efforts needed to be made to increase the number of clinical staff attending case meetings held by several agencies involved in children's care.

Staff attendance at case conferences at Haringey and North Middlesex "is still poor and must be addressed".

The CQC said all trusts must improve the quality of data collected about children and improvements should continue regarding information-sharing between the NHS and social services.

Cynthia Bower, the CQC's chief executive, said: "It is clear these four trusts have committed to improving the systems in place to safeguard children, and they have made huge strides in addressing the problems we identified in our initial review last May.

"The trusts must now maintain the momentum and continue to drive the remaining handful of improvements needed."

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