• Safeguarding children in the National Health Service: A study of government policy development and its implementation by strategic health managers in the North West

      de Sousa, Eustace (University of ChesterNHS North West, 2012-10)
      There are approximately 1.6 million children and young people under the age of 18 living in the North West of England (NHS NW, June 2011). Each of them is entitled under international and national laws to protection from harm. This research sets out the context in which England‟s national policy for safeguarding children is developed and how this is implemented in National Health Services (NHS) across the North West. The context setting of legislation is important because of the cultural backdrop this sets for strategic health managers. These managers are responsible for ensuring local health services satisfy national and local requirements, and are keeping children safe. The timing of this research is particularly relevant because of the current reforms the NHS is undergoing, which means that from April 2013 new commissioning arrangements for health services will be in place. A conceptual framework sets out an ecological framework in which policy makers and these managers operate, highlighting key factors which influence decisions. Although much academic and action research has been undertaken in this field, very little has been done in respect of this strategic group of health service managers. This original research explores, through a quantative approach, some of the key influences on these managers. The research findings identify the powerful effect of public opinion on the managers, and that the influence of policy and prioritisation is strongest when this is applied locally. This is important when one considers the Government‟s commitment to local organisations taking greater responsibility for identifying local priorities rather than being set centrally. Finally, recommendations for utilising the learning from the research are proposed for the researcher‟s organisation, the Strategic Health Authority (SHA) for the North West.