The death of a child is a difficult time for bereaved friends and family, but it can also be a difficult time for professionals who had responsibility for that child.
As a GP, you may deal with these sad cases very rarely – however, this can mean that when they arise, you may be unsure of your responsibilities and the approach to take.
The GP can play a number of important roles when it comes to child mortality. The first is in identifying vulnerable families and offering support prior to reduce the risk of death. To support this, you may wish to familiarise yourself with the leading modifiable factors identified in child deaths presented in our second annual report, make the most of the 6-week postnatal check and share information on safer sleeping.
If the worst should happen, you may wonder how best to engage with the child’s family following the death. In this video, you can hear direct from a bereaved parent what interventions from her GP were and weren’t impactful to address the challenges she faced.
You may also be called on to contribute to the child death review process. The NCMD website contains a range of guidance on this process, and you can learn more here – but we would ask that you please do all that you can to engage with this process and to contribute. The GP’s perspective is so helpful in gathering complete information that could improve and save children’s lives in future.
All our advice to help GPs understand the role they can play in reducing child mortality and inequalities between groups is captured in this poster, prepared for the Royal College of GPs conference in 2022.