GPs 'should be on lookout for radicalisation' in children

Credit: PA

GPs should be on the lookout for signs of radicalisation in child patients as well as other "social ills", according to their professional body.

They should also be trained to spot trafficking and cyber-bullying and help identify issues such as female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) and the NSPCC have issued a "toolkit" with the help of police, social workers and government agencies, so doctors are better informed about what to do if they have concerns for a child.

RCGP chairman Maureen Baker said children were faced with "unprecedented pressures" as a result of the internet, which leaves them vulnerable to trolling, "sexting" and revenge porn.

She added: "As GPs we are trained to treat the 'whole person' and that means now taking into account a number of societal, as well as health, factors.

"A consultation with a GP may be the only time that young people can be alone with a trusted adult and we have a number of roles to play in providing understanding, compassion and support."

According to latest figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), 43,140 children were subject to a child protection plan and 68,110 children were 'looked after' in England in 2013.