Academics Call for Overhaul of Royal College Guidance on Fabricated or Induced Illness (FII)


Researchers from the University of Leeds are urgently calling for revisions to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health’s (RCPCH) guidance on Fabricated or Induced Illness (FII). This term has replaced ‘Munchausen syndrome by proxy’ as adopted by the RCPCH. The study, released last Tuesday, investigates the prevalence and impact of FII accusations on families across England, Scotland, and Wales.


One crucial finding highlights the profound and long-lasting trauma inflicted on both accused parents and their children due to FII allegations. The report suggests a concerning increase in allegations against parents of disabled children, with at least 74% of English children’s services authorities reporting such incidents. The risk of unlawful discrimination against disabled individuals is notably high, with disabled parents being four times more likely to face FII accusations than their non-disabled counterparts.


The report underscores that the majority (84%) of FII allegations result in no follow-up action or are eventually abandoned. Furthermore, in 95% of cases, children continue to live with their parents. The main sources of FII allegations are NHS practitioners, followed by schools and local authority children’s services.


The researchers criticise the RCPCH’s 2021 FII guidance, claiming it may lead to numerous false accusations. They propose urgent revisions to the guidance to address its failure in recognising the harm caused to parents and children, potential unlawful discriminatory impacts on disabled parents, and the lack of peer-reviewed support for the ‘alerting signs’ of FII. Professor Luke Clements, launching the report, emphasised the pressing need for a significant overhaul of policies and practices in this field to protect families, especially those with disabled parents, from inappropriate FII accusations.


The above report can be found here:


2nd December 2023

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *