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Dentists to help combat abuse

Posted by Yvonne Wallace

Dentists should receive better training in order to help them identify potential victims of abuse, according to the Liberal Democrats.

At the party’s annual conference in Glasgow last month, the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg gave the go ahead for a raft of new measures to deliver a “stronger focus on prevention of domestic and sexual violence”.

While the document – titled Dignity At Home – aims to eliminate harassment and bullying of patients and staff in care homes, it is also looking to raise standards in order to make sure abuse is spotted by other health experts too – including dental professionals.

As part of the policy, the Care Quality Commission will be required to take a stronger stance on the issue, while local councils will be expected to avoid appearing at the bottom of the pile when it comes to commissioning care.

Liberal Democrat MP and health minister Norman Lamb said: “The Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy and a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life. That is why I am working to make sure people get better care.”

Dentists in Scotland have already been trained how to spot potential victims of abuse following a campaign by the charity Medics Against Violence in 2010.

Dental professionals here are expected to encourage potential victims to confide in any trouble they might be experiencing, while they have also been taught how to recognise the most common evidence apparent when someone may be being abused – which usually manifests itself in the form of teeth, head and facial injuries.

Practices may be encouraged to display more literature in waiting rooms or surgeries in the form of dental marketing products like posters in order to convey a message that patients can trust their dentist and confide in potential abuse taking place.

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