This site is intended for health professionals only

Professional victimisation distracts from lessons of Baby P tragedy

Supporting professionals when they make errors so they can learn and improve is the key to making children safer, says a consultant paediatrician in a blog on

Heather Payne discusses the "media orgy of blaming professionals" surrounding the Baby P case. She argues that focusing on the errors of the professionals involved in the case distracts from making practical progress.

"We should focus on what could have been done differently", she says. "Each professional group should identify how they might have modified their practice to fill the gaps."

According to Payne, recent reviews of serious cases such as Baby P have repeatedly called for more observance of procedure and better interagency training and communication without any practical progress or moving forward.

It is essential that professionals are accountable for their work, but there needs to be "a supportive response to possible errors" or their will be no mechanism to be able to learn and improve.

"This is hard-edged, evidence-based risk management, but it will make children safer", she concludes.

Payne's blog has led to a heated debate on