A more “intensive assessment” of the parenting ability of Adam Kightley and Jackie Parker would have been done if their histories had been known to midwives, a Serious Case Review has concluded.
A report, published today, states there was a “considerable body of information” in health and education records which indicated that the child’s parents had both suffered a traumatic childhood.
The report states: “Whether this may have impacted upon their parenting capacity was not considered by those providing a service to the child, and it would appear that in any case most of this potentially relevant information remained in archives and was not actually accessed by those working with the family, in particular the midwife at the ante-natal and immediate post birth stage.
“It is reasonable to suggest that had it been accessed the information held in agency files about the parents own troubled background should have triggered a more intensive assessment of their parenting capacity.”
The report states that the reason for midwives not accessing relevant information about the child’s parents held by the GP was that without prior safeguarding concerns this would not be routinely done.
The report states: “This is something of a chicken and egg situation because it was only by accessing the GP records that they could have discovered information which may have caused them to conduct further enquiries about the mother’s parenting capacity.”
The report also states “little was known by professionals about the child’s father” because paternal medical records are not accessed by community midwives as it is considered that the community midwifes only have the professional/client relationship with the expectant mother and the unborn child.
The report states it was “wrongly” perceived by the midwives to be a breach of the Data Protection Act to access a father’s medical records. It states: “It is a legitimate interest in a group of health professionals working with a particular family sharing information to better ensure that the potential vulnerability of a child is properly assessed.
“In respect of the professional/client relationship, it is also reasonable to expect that each parent with an ongoing primary care-giving responsibility should be considered as a ‘client’ of the relevant health professionals.”