Child protection

As a person involved in dental treatment you have an obligation to inform the appropriate authorities if you suspect a child may have been the subject of a non-accidental injury.

Child protection covers wider issues than non-accidental incidents. All staff must be familiar with their local policy.

New National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2010 (external link) was published in 2010 by the Scottish Government.

New core competency framework (external link) for the protection of children, recently produced by NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and has been developed in line with the new national guidance through direct discussion with Scottish Government.

Remember, the implications and sensitivity of child protection are serious and must be dealt with carefully and correctly.

The nursery and school staff tend to know the children and their families well and, in the first instance, any concerns should be discussed with them.

You must then report any concerns to your manager in the Primary Care dental service and document this as soon as possible after the event.

Your manager will advise you of the most suitable way of following up with the school authorities.

In dental practice the child protection policy should be followed for your practice. The Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme documents, including the practice manual (external link) include potential indicators of dental neglect, advice on making careful judgements, and information and support on the importance of contacting the child’s named health visitor and/or doctor to share concerns.