BSPD focuses on looked-after children, awarding joint-winners in 2022 Outstanding Innovation Award

23 March 2022
3 min read
Jemma Facenfield and Lucy Ridsdale
Jemma Facenfield and Lucy Ridsdale

Joint-winners, both with initiatives supporting the wellbeing of looked-after children, have been awarded the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD) 2022 Outstanding Innovation Award (OIA). Jemma Facenfield is a co-winner for her ‘Dental Clinic for looked-after children and adolescents’ and Lucy Ridsdale joins her as a winner for her initiative, ‘Dental Care Pathways for looked-after children’.

Additionally, the judges would also like to recognise Christine Park, for her ‘Serious Game for the teaching and training of dental team professionals’, whilst the digital innovation of Armaana Ahmed’s ‘Live Mind Maps for children’s dentistry’ initiative was noted.

Joint-winners supporting looked-after children (LAC)
In a year where BSPD is shining a spotlight on the issues face by looked-after children, and how paediatric dentistry can support them, Jemma Facenfield and Lucy Ridsdale have both turned their creativity to look at different ways to bring colleagues together to identify and support the needs of our most vulnerable children in the UK.

Jemma, as part of Plymouth’s Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise (PDSE) operates a ‘Children in Care Clinic’, supporting children and young people in the care system, who are at risk of particularly poor oral health due to lack of access to dental services and living circumstances. The clinic has extended its age criteria to 21 years, which means that young people leaving foster care can now be included. The clinic adopts a trauma-informed approach working closely with both the child, the foster carer and health professionals to ensure the experience is as comfortable as possible. The ‘Children in Care Clinic’ uses resources which include ‘sensory calming kits’ and dental workbooks and offers tailored appointments that take an inclusive approach and are sensitive to the anxieties and needs of each child.     

Lucy’s ‘Dental Care Pathways’ project aims to improve dental care for LAC in Yorkshire and Humber. This pathway facilitates access to dental care for LAC and shares information about the children’s oral health with local authority and health teams. The pathway takes a child new to care through a process connecting the LAC health team to the foster carer inviting a dental assessment. Ultimately the child’s oral health status and needs are recorded in their personal care plan by the paediatrician and shared with the wider team supporting the child. Prior to implementing the pathway, paediatricians would not always undertake an oral assessment as part of the child’s health assessment. The pathway ensures this information has been provided and recorded by a dentist.

Jemma was recognised specifically for her dedication to improving health inequalities in children and engaging with different stakeholders to make a difference. The BSPD judges were impressed at how she led this project and developed all the resources to help support looked-after children and provide them with access to dental care. It is clear that Jemma led this initiative and worked hard to get this clinic set up. The resources are excellent and the testimonials provided were really inspiring.

Lucy was recognised for her dedication to improving health inequalities in children and providing a clear pathway for looked-after children. The judges were impressed with how she steered the project and rallied the support of the North Yorkshire and Humber Paediatric Dentistry MCN and LDC and LDN chairs to put together this important care pathway. This pathway provides an impactful change to address the issue of health inequalities. There is the potential for this initiative to be rolled out nationally and have a long-lasting effect.

Professor Sondos Albadri, president of the BSPD, said, “The entries to this year’s BSPD Outstanding Innovation Awards were particularly inspiring. The theme of improving the oral health of looked-after children is a priority for BSPD and we were delighted to see not one, but two creative initiatives focused on improving the wellbeing of vulnerable children and young people. We don’t usually award joint-winners of BSPD’s 2022 Outstanding Innovation Award, but the entries from Jemma and Lucy were both innovative and effective, but were coming at the challenge from different – yet complementary angles.”

About the other two entries of note, Professor Albadri said, “Christine’s ‘Serious Games’ is an excellent innovation in the area of safeguarding teaching and training of the dental team. It will be really interesting to see the impact the game will make and if those who were trained using the game will now act and make the appropriate referrals. Armaana’s ‘Live Mind Maps for children’s dentistry’ digital innovation is an interesting educational platform bringing resources together to facilitate learning. It has great potential and we are looking forward to future developments.”