Health flagging query – Police & Justice Lead, Kay Wallace

The virtual Police Network had a query submitted from a safeguarding practitioner who was working with a 16 year old male, who was looked after by the Local Authority. There were significant concerns around criminal exploitation and county lines. They knew that the male was travelling up and down the country and had turned up in A+ Es in Wales and England with stab wounds but he gave false details. The LA had asked Health to put a national alert out, should he turn up somewhere else in the country, Health said this was not possible, as there was no process in place to share alerts nationally, they are only shared regionally.

The network were asked whether they were aware of anyway Health could flag this young person ?

* One response from the network outlined that the maternity service has the ability to put national alerts out regarding expectant mothers presenting at different hospitals, but was unsure whether this could also apply to children and adolescents where there was a high risk of being subject to violence.

The responder added the below link which may assist:

* Another response outlined that it was not entirely true that there is no national health alert/flagging system, but it was not as straightforward as it used to be, but it can still be done. It happens for example, when a pregnant woman goes missing, or someone absconds with their children. They should engage in the first instance with their regional contact in NHS England who will be able to advise. If that fails, they can go to their local CCG Designated Doctor/Nurse for Child Safeguarding who have access to their opposite numbers in the other CCG’s around the country through their internal peer network

* Another response stated that there was a way to apply alerts, it used to be via NHSE, but now health have been informed they are still able to do national notifications if the risk is significant.

* A network member spoke to a contact in their local hospital, and was informed that either Social care or Police can implement the national alerts.

* A member of the network linked in with their local health professionals and received the following response;

‘NHS England used to distribute alerts nationwide. However, recently NHS England have reviewed the alerts position following GDPR implementation. NHS England does not issue Safeguarding Alerts, there are IG issues related to sending out personal information widely in this way. No ‘explicit consent’

The expectation is that organisations use their own safeguarding processes to alert areas/organisations where they think an individual may go. Designated Professionals work in the CCG and hold no clinical details/ access to local/national alert system. This is an NHS provider role who hold patient’s case details,

It is a Policing issue to find people who are at risk, it is the NHS’ expectation that they will utilise their own mechanisms to do this.

Normal safeguarding processes in Maternity or A & E departments should identify that if someone is at risk and this would instigate safeguarding procedures and follow information governance processes in safeguarding.’

Information regarding this is on the NHS website –

* Another network member stated their area stopped doing national and regional alerts in 2017, as NHS England direct that the alerts should no longer be done, due to the fact there was no way of removing them.

The only way the member knew of was, the National Police Alerts sent to all EDs about potential people at risk (either to others or themselves), therefore if this young person attended ED they would know about the history.

* Another network member outlined that the police should consider a trigger plan for the young person for any missing episodes. The trigger plan should include a profile, with all relevant addresses, associates, phone numbers, areas visited etc. So when the young person goes missing, the research is mostly done.

The Trigger plan could include whether the police should notify health partners, whether they should notify social care etc. If the young person is visiting another force area or region, the Trigger plan should be included on the relevant police force systems too.

* Many members made mention of the NRM and a subsequent crime being created which would also allow for use of PNC and alerting other agencies to detect prevent/detect crime.


Kay Wallace – 01332 585371 – [email protected]