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Members of the dental team are in a position where they may identify the signs of abuse or neglect or hear something that causes them concern. The dental team has an ethical responsibility to find out about local protection procedures for adults, children and young people and to follow them if they are or might be at risk of abuse or neglect (Standards for the Dental Team. GDC, 2013​​).

Was not brought

Why worry about missed appointments?

Missed healthcare appointments are the most common reason for dentists to make child protection referrals. They cause concern because they:


  • may be an alerting feature that a child or young person is being neglected
  • are often found when a child has died or been seriously harmed by maltreatment, when a ‘serious case review’ is conducted
  • should be followed up rigorously but that isn’t always easy to do


‘Was not brought’, rather than ‘Did not attend’ matters

Describing children and young people (CYP) as ‘Was not brought’ (WNB) instead of ‘Did not attend’ (DNA) encourages us to think about the situation from the child’s perspective and potentially take action to safeguard them.


Please download our guide: Implementing 'Was not brought' in your practice and use 'Was not brought' in your practice.



green ​pink​bluepurple
Use for

​Children and young people up to their 18th birthday

​Children who are the subject of a child protection plan or who are looked after​Children receiving orthodontic assessment or treatment​Vulnerable adults/adults at risk
Flowchart (PDF)




​Expected late 2022

Flowchart (Word)




Expected late 2022

Editable template letters (Word)




Expected late 2022

Template notes (Word)




​Expected late 2022


Expectations for training

The following guidance gives a dental specific summary of the expectations for training needed from us and the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry on the roles and competencies for safeguarding adults, children and young people​.


These roles and competencies apply to both NHS and private providers in all settings in which dentistry is practised.


All new starters should have a mandatory safeguarding introduction (children and adults) for a minimum of 30 minutes within the first six weeks of taking up the post.


For Adults, children and young people:




Hours of refresher training over 3 years:

Level 2

Level 2

Level 2

minimum 4 hours + annual review of competencies


*The majority of dentists and dental care professionals will require level 2; in larger organisations, including hospitals and community-based specialist services (special care dentistry, paediatric or other relevant dental specialties such as orthodontics) the precise number of dentists and dental care professionals requiring level 3 competencies should be determined locally based on an assessment of need and risk.





Non-clinical staff

Hours of refresher training over 3 years:

Level 1

Level 1

Level 1

minimum 2 hours + annual review of competencies


Dentist with specific role in safeguarding 

DCP with specific role in safeguarding 

Hours of refresher training over 3 years:

Level 3

Level 3

minimum 8 hours + annual review of competencies


​Requirements for safeguarding training are defined in the documents Adult Safeguarding; Roles and Competencies for Health Care Staff (First edition August 2018) and Safeguarding children and young people: Roles and competencies for healthcare staff (January 2019).


CPD, References and resources

​Child protection/
adult safeguarding

Safeguarding Level 1 and 2. Training to help members of the dental team understand the importance of safeguarding, enable them to identify the signs of abuse and neglect and provide them with the tools to appropriately respond to concerns.

4 hours CPD, development outcomes A, B, C, D


Safeguarding patients

​Expert templates

Template policies

​BDJ articles

Adult safeguarding; guidance for dental professionals

Development and evaluation of a 'was not brought' pathway: a team approach to managing children's missed dental appointments 
Do you see what I see? Identification of child protection concerns by hospital staff and general dental practitioners

Establishing comprehensive oral assessments for children with safeguarding concerns
Guidance: Lost in translation
Infant oral mutilation – a child protection issue?
The Scottish dental practitioner's role in managing child abuse and neglect


Implementing 'Was not brought' in your practice - a guide (pdf)

Adult safeguarding: roles and competencies for health care staff (intercollegiate document first edition 2018)

Child maltreatment: when to suspect maltreatment in under 18s (Clinical Guideline 89)

Child abuse and neglect (Nice Guideline 76)

Safeguarding children and young people: Roles and competencies for healthcare staff (January 2019)

Safeguarding vulnerable people in the reformed NHS (NHS England, July 2015)

Standards for the Dental Team. GDC, 2013

Working together to safeguard children (Statutory guidance on inter-agency working, 2018)


​We are a member of the NSPCC​ Health Liaison Committee. This multi-organisation group discusses child protection issues within the healthcare setting and shares best practice for
safeguarding children.

Other members of the group are British Medical Association, British Society of Paediatric Dentistry, Department of Health, Royal College of GPs, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal College of Pathologists, Royal College of Psychiatrists, Royal College of Midwives, and the Royal College of Nursing


One-to-one advice

Extra and Expert members have access to unlimited one-to-one advice via phone or email from our experienced advisors. Contact our Practice support team on 020 7563 4574 or email: advice.enquiries@bda.org.


We may record telephone conversations that are advisory in nature to offer you additional security, resolve complaints and improve our service standards. Conversations may also be monitored for staff training purposes. You will be alerted to this when you call.