We are committed to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. Our team accepts and recognises our responsibilities to develop an awareness of the issues which may cause children and vulnerable adults harm.
We endeavour to safeguard children and vulnerable adults by:
- An awareness of and adopting safeguarding guidelines through our practice procedures and policies.
- Making staff and patients aware that we take child and vulnerable adult protection seriously and respond to all concerns.
- Sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know and involving parents and children appropriately.
- Following carefully the practice procedures for staff recruitment and selection and, where appropriate, requesting DBS Checks.
- Providing effective management for staff by ensuring access to supervision, support and training.
Our Safeguarding Policy is underpinned by the following principles:
- Patients have access to information and knowledge to ensure that they can make an informed choice.
- Patients are given the opportunity to consider the various treatment options available to them. They are encouraged to participate fully in their care at the practice.
- Patients are supported to make their own decisions and to give or withhold consent to treatment. Unless provided for otherwise by law, no-one can give or withhold consent on behalf of another adult
- Information about patients held by the practice is managed appropriately and all members of the team understand the need for confidentiality.
- The individual needs of each patient are respected.
- The background and culture of all patients is respected.
- Practice procedures ensure the safety of patients at all times.
- Recruitment and selection procedures at the practice are followed routinely and ensure that all required checks are carried out.
Other practice policies relevant to our safeguarding policy include;
- Confidentiality Policy and Procedure
- Consent Policy and Procedure
- Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure
- Mental Capacity Act 2005 Policy and Procedure
- Complaints Policy and Procedure
- Restraints Policy and Procedure
Within our practices, Andrew McCance is our – safeguarding lead, and Carlie Evans – Deputy (East Grinstead), and Stephanie Slater (Rochester), are responsible for ensuring our procedures for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults are kept up to date and is our point of contact for raising concerns.
- A child is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday.
- A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who is, or may be, in need of community care services or is resident in a continuing care facility by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness or who is, or may be, unable to take care of him or herself or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.
Signs of abuse
Members of the dental team may observe the signs of abuse or neglect or hear something that causes them concern about a child or vulnerable adult. They are not responsible for making a diagnosis of child abuse or neglect, just for sharing concerns appropriately. Each team member should be aware of the local procedures for child protection.
Abuse or neglect may present to the dental team in a number of different ways:
- through a direct allegation (sometimes termed a ‘disclosure’) made by the child, vulnerable adult, a parent or some other person
- through signs and symptoms which are suggestive of physical abuse or neglect
- or through observations of child behaviour or parent-child interaction; or observation of the vulnerable adult and the relationship they have with their carer.
If abuse or neglect is suspected
It is uncommon for dentists to see patients with signs of abuse but where there may be concerns about a patient who may have been abused and there is no satisfactory explanation, prompt action is important.
- The dentist should discuss their concerns with a colleague or the safeguarding leads.
- If concerns remain, informal advice should be sought from the local social services department without disclosing the child’s name to help decide whether a formal referral is needed.
- Permission for referral should be sought from the patient – unless doing so would put the patient at greater risk, the parents or carers are being abusive or violent and discussion would put others at risk, or sexual abuse by a family member is suspected.
Where there is serious physical injury arising from suspected abuse, a referral of the individual to the nearest hospital A&E department should be made, with the consent of the person having parental responsibility or care of the child.
For further information and local safeguarding contacts, please ask for a copy of our full Safeguarding Policy from a member of staff.
All members of the team are trained in Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable adults, (Clinicians and leads level 3 and all other staff members level 2) with training being updated every year.
We are committed to reviewing our policy and good practice standards at regular intervals.