‘Radical rethink’ for Childsmile Practice

02 January, 2015

A “radical rethink” of how the Childsmile programme is implemented in some Scottish practices has been called for.

Deputy chief dental officer Tom Ferris says he believes that a number of dentists are failing to implement the strategy and, as a result, children are losing out on its proven benefits.

“We need to address why there are some practices in Scotland that haven’t undertaken any Childsmile interventions.

“What is it that stops a dentist delivering Childsmile in practice? We need a radical rethink of options for the programme for nought to five-year-olds.”

At the recent sitting of the Childsmile Working Group, Ferris tasked the Practitioner Services Division with coming up with potential “quick fixes” that could help practices record and deliver the programme in the short term. He pointed to problems with the SDR including issues of time-barring as potential areas that could be ironed out.

He then promised to come back to the working group at its next sitting later this month with a range of options aimed at ensuring more dental practices implement Childsmile in their practices.

Ferris indicated that some dentists might not believe the evidence, despite strong research and evaluation being embedded within the programme from the start. He said: “So, there is a bit of a hearts and minds element to consider. The evidence has been thoroughly reviewed and it says that, no matter where the child is socio-economically, they should be having fluoride varnish applied.

“So, there is a bit of a question mark over why evidence isn’t translated into practice. However, that is a much bigger discussion, which is probably not for this group to deal with.”

Ferris indicated that as well as improving the current situation, options to ensure Childsmile is delivered to children over the age of six are also under discussion. He said: “The end point is there might be two or three options for each age range that we then say to the chief dental officer, these are the things you will want to discuss with the profession. She will then sit down with SDPC and talk about the practicalities, and how best to implement.”

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