Thursday 22 March 2018

Protection improvements will not be perfect, warns Drumm

Fergus Black

NEW standardised child protection practices which will be rolled out across the country will deliver massive change but the system will still not be perfect, outgoing health chief Brendan Drumm said yesterday.

Professor Drumm defended the agency's role after childcare agency Barnardos questioned whether it was "fit for purpose" to deliver child protection services.

He also described the new national children's hospital being built at Mater as a "wonderful project" after former heart surgeon Maurice Nelligan questioned the suitability of the site.

Performing his last public function before leaving the Health Service Executive, Prof Drumm said there were huge problems the world over in managing child protection issues.

International research had shown that only 10pc of serious child abuse was reported to state agencies in developed countries.

When the HSE examined how child protection was delivered they found huge differences in performance across different parts of the country.

"We are now rolling out standardised practices for everybody working in child protection. That's a massive change programme, it will be another year and a half before its completed.

"Will it still be perfect? I don't think it will. I think child protection is hugely demanding but it can be a lot better," he said.

Whether another agency other than the HSE should be responsible for child protection was a decision for the Government but "moving it here or there" did not solve the problem.

Supporting the new national children's hospital on the Mater Hospital site, Prof Drumm said there was "huge energy" for the project.

"This is a wonderful project for the people of Ireland. It's something we have to see delivered for the children of Ireland," he said.

Irish Independent

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