BSPD Welcomes New NICE Guidance

BSPD Welcomes New NICE Guidance

The British Society of Paediatric Dentistry has welcomed new guidance from NICE, on the treatment of youngsters in healthcare settings.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has drafted the new guidance, entitled ‘Babies, Children and Young People’s Experience of Healthcare.’

The guidance is designed to “Ensure the preferences and feelings of young patients are consistently central to their treatment,” the BSPD said.

NICE said “Adults often see children and young people as passive recipients of healthcare. This can lead to children and young people not being listened to, having a lack of understanding of their own condition and may lead to problems that can affect future care (for example, finding it difficult to trust healthcare professionals or feeling very anxious before procedures).”

“However, having a positive experience can make a child or young person feel confident, empowered and supported to manage decisions about their own health and healthcare, and can improve their perception of their diagnosis and treatment.”

“This positive experience should also ensure that babies, children and young people are treated as individuals with a life outside healthcare, and not just as their condition or diagnosis,” the guidance said.

NICE recommends that “Healthcare professionals should involve children and young people in decisions about their healthcare in ways that are appropriate to their maturity and understanding.”

“Some children and young people will be able to give informed consent themselves, some will be able to contribute to the discussion, and others may not be able to be involved at all.”

The BSPD said “This approach is already espoused by BSPD whose members have researched and published systematic reviews highlighting the importance of making the voice of the child central to research and put children and young people in control of their dental treatment.”

“The NICE guidance covers issues such as safeguarding, disabilities, consent, shared decision-making and sets out that healthcare staff should communicate with Kindness, compassion and respect, cultural sensitivity (and) a non-judgemental attitude.”

The new guidance  is aimed at commissioners and providers of healthcare who now have a responsibility to apply the guidance where appropriate. It’s also recommended that it  should also be read by non-clinical staff, such as receptionists.

Professor Paul Ashley, a member of BSPD as well as the NICE committee which drafted the guidance, said “Children have a right to express their views on decisions affecting them. This guidance shows how listening to and treating children and young people with the respect and dignity they deserve can lead to better care.”

“Poor healthcare experiences increase likelihood of unmet healthcare need among CYP, which could mean worse health outcomes in adult life. Positive experiences of healthcare also play an important part in health equality, ensuring that every contact counts to build up trust.”

He added: “Paediatric dentists are already adept at tuning in to their patient’s needs and wishes. This has become more challenging since the pandemic with remote check-ins replacing face-to-face care. Familiarity with dental clinics is fundamental to allow children and young people to develop confidence and trust in our services.”

The full guidance can be found here.


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