Doctor Who Raised Alarm Over Baby P Injuries Suspended

The family doctor who regularly saw Baby P in the months before his death has been suspended from practice.

Dr Jerome Ikwueke saw the boy 14 times and referred him twice to hospital specialists after becoming concerned about marks on his face and body. Police launched an investigation but no one was charged until Baby P died in his cot on 3 August 2007.

The General Medical Council revealed today that the watchdog’s interim orders panel had suspended Dr Ikwueke’s registration as a doctor for 18 months. The suspension will be reviewed after six months.

In August Dr Sabah al-Zayyat, the consultant paediatrician who failed to spot the boy’s broken back before his death, was suspended for 18 months. The Healthcare Commission is due to publish its report into the NHS handling of the Baby P case next week.

The number of child protection staff working in London hospitals has fallen dramatically despite government promises to revolutionise social care in the wake of the tragedy.

Figures released to the Evening Standard show that dedicated social worker teams have been cut in at least seven health trusts and child protection staff have been scrapped altogether in hospitals which include the Royal Brompton and Harefield and Newham University hospitals.

The number of social workers assigned to St George’s in Tooting dropped from eight to five and at University College London they dropped from six to three in the past 10 years.

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, will raise concerns that hospitals are not picking up whether children have been abused by parents. Research by the Conservatives have found that two thirds of A&E departments do not routinely check records to see if a child is known to be at risk and subject to a protection plan.

The party polled 120 hospital trusts and found that only one in seven can check online to see if a child is on the “at risk” register.

Baby P died in Haringey aged 17 months from injuries received while in the care of his mother, her partner and lodger. He had contact with the NHS, social services and police during his life. A review found a lack of communication between authorities.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: “Many hospitals are getting incoherent messages about what to do to prevent tragedies like the Baby P case from happening again and it’s unacceptable that others just don’t have access to the information they need.”

But health minister Ben Bradshaw said: “There is no national requirement, and it would be unnecessary to routinely check every child admitted to A&E against the child protection register.”