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Understanding general practitioners' conflicts of interests and the paramountcy principle in safeguarding children

Abstract

As family physicians, general practitioners play a key role in safeguarding children. Should they suspect child abuse or neglect they may experience a conflict between responding to the needs and interests of the child and those of an adult patient. English law insists on the paramountcy of the interests of the child, but in family practice many other interests may be at stake. The authors argue that uncritical adoption of the paramountcy principle is too simplistic and can lead, paradoxically, to greater harm. They argue for a more subtle and nuanced view of interests and of conflicts of interest in safeguarding children.

  • Legal aspects
  • newborns and minors
  • professional–professional relationship
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