Dental toolkit for safeguarding children who miss appointments

A NEW toolkit has been launched to support the safeguarding of children and young people who miss dental appointments.

The new approach marks a move away from the "did not attend" pathway towards one that recognises children often have no control over whether they attend appointments.

The "was not brought" pathway – WNB-CYP – was published in the British Dental Journal and is available for all dentists and their teams to use via the BDA website.

The toolkit provides a step-by-step guide to managing the pathway in dental practices. It offers a flowchart for action and downloadable template letters to help the team follow a standardised approach which will keep young patients safe. It will help practices to identify at each stage of the process, which other healthcare professionals they need to communicate and share information with if they are worried about patients facing dental neglect.

The pathway was developed by consultant in paediatric dentistry Jenny Harris who was recognised in 2018 by the NSPCC for her pioneering work in safeguarding children. She worked with Jen Kirby, leadership fellow and speciality registrar in paediatric dentistry.

Charlotte Waite, Chair of the BDA's England Community Dental Services Committee, said: “Young children do not call the shots on attending appointments, so for many health professionals treating them the term "did not attend" has never been applicable. This 'was not brought' toolkit is designed to help the whole dental team, and provide practical help on making this important distinction.”

The framework is designed to support any healthcare professional treating children and young people, from primary to secondary care and high street to community practice.