Child protection guide for dentists launched
 

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Child protection guide for dentists launched

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Child protection guide for dentists launched

 

Child protection guide for dentists launched

A guide to safeguarding children in dental practice was launched by health minister, Rosie Winterton, at the BDA’s 2006 British Dental Conference and Exhibition at the ICC in Birmingham earlier this month. ‘Child Protection and the Dental Team’, was
commissioned and funded by the Department of Health (DoH), and follows work by paediatric dentists to explore how they should meet the challenges set by Lord Laming’s inquiry last year into the death of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie.

Speaking at the launch, Winterton, said: ‘All healthcare professionals will, on occasion, come across children at risk of neglect and abuse. It is therefore vitally important that all members of the dental team are aware of the best way to recognise and help these children. Our experience of child protection work shows that safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children depends on effective joint working between agencies and professionals.’

Project leader, Jenny Harris, a specialist in paediatric dentistry said: ‘This guide will enable members of the dental team to refresh their skills and knowledge in this vitally important area.

‘In my own workplace, we began to ask ourselves if we would know what to do if a child like Victoria walked into our surgery. We
discovered that there is much we can do to prepare ourselves and our practices for such eventualities.’

The guide gives practical advice for the whole dental team on spotting the symptoms of abuse – signs ranging from physical injury to changes in behaviour and interaction with parents. It then gives guidance on what to do if you suspect a child is suffering abuse. It also provides practical suggestions to help dental teams safeguard children, including advice on how to find out about local sources of help and further training.

Richard Welbury, professor of paediatric dentistry at Glasgow Dental Hospital and School said: ‘Dentists and their teams are skilled at examining children. ‘We get to know their families well and are in a good position to spot signs of abuse and neglect. But unless we know how to find help for a child when necessary, it is only a matter of time before a tragedy occurs that might have been prevented by the timely intervention of a caring dental professional.’

NSPCC head of child protection training services, Una Fisher, said: ‘The NSPCC Training and Consultancy Service welcomes this initiative. Everyone who works alongside children and young people must be able to recognise, respond and report any concerns they have about a child.

‘Dentists can be a vital link in the child protection chain as they have frequent contact with children and families.’

Welbury concluded: ‘We hope this resource will help dentists and their teams to make a difference to the lives of vulnerable children.’

NHS dental practices in England will receive a copy of the guidelines, accompanied by a letter from Barry Cockcroft, acting chief dental officer, reminding them of the responsibilities placed on them to work together to protect children.

The handbook was developed by a multi-disciplinary expert group, working in association with the committee of postgraduate dental deans and directors, and is backed by an open-access website www.cpdt.org.uk.

 Posted on : Wed 7th - Jun - 2006

 

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