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Inspection carried out on 27 March 2017

During a routine inspection

We carried out an announced comprehensive inspection on 27 March 2017 to ask the practice the following key questions; Are services safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led?

Our findings were:

Are services safe?

We found that this practice was providing safe care in accordance with the relevant regulations.

Are services effective?

We found that this practice was providing effective care in accordance with the relevant regulations.

Are services caring?

We found that this practice was providing caring services in accordance with the relevant regulations.

Are services responsive?

We found that this practice was providing responsive care in accordance with the relevant regulations.

Are services well-led?

We found that this practice was providing well-led care in accordance with the relevant regulations.

Walton Park Dental Practice is a predominantly private practice (close to Hersham train station) in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey which offers a range of general dental treatment to adults and children. The practice also has a small NHS contract. The premises are located on the ground and first floor of a converted residential property and consist of four dental treatment rooms, a reception and waiting area and a separate decontamination room.

The staff at the practice consist of a principal dentist, two associate dentists, four part-time dental hygienists, three dental nurses and four receptionists.

The principal dentist is the registered manager. A registered manager is a person who is registered with the Care Quality Commission to manage the service. Like registered providers, they are ‘registered persons’. Registered persons have legal responsibility for meeting the requirements in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and associated Regulations about how the practice is run.

Our key findings were:

  • There was an induction programme for staff to follow which ensured they were skilled and competent in delivering safe and effective care and support to patients.

  • The practice ensured staff maintained the necessary skills and competence to support the needs of patients.

  • There were effective systems in place to reduce the risk and spread of infection. We found the treatment rooms and equipment were visibly clean.

  • There were systems in place to check equipment had been serviced regularly, including the dental air compressor, autoclaves, fire extinguishers and the X-ray equipment.

  • We found the dentists regularly assessed each patient’s gum health and the dentist took X-rays at appropriate intervals.

  • The practice kept up to date with current guidelines when considering the care and treatment needs of patients.

  • The practice placed an emphasis on the promotion of oral and general health and the prevention of dental disease. Appropriate information and advice was available according to patients’ individual needs.

  • Staff had been trained to handle emergencies and appropriate medicines and life-saving equipment were readily available.

  • Patients received assessments of their oral health needs. They were given clear explanations about their proposed treatment, and its costs, benefits and risks and were involved in making decisions about it.

  • Patients were treated with dignity and respect and confidentiality was maintained.

  • The appointment system met the needs of patients and waiting times were kept to a minimum.

  • There was an effective complaints system and the practice was open and transparent with patients if a mistake had been made.

  • Staff demonstrated knowledge of the practice whistleblowing policy and were confident they would raise a concern about another staff member’s performance if it was necessary.

  • At our visit we observed staff were kind, caring, very welcoming and worked well as a team.

  • There was an effective system in place to act on feedback received from patients and staff.

  • We reviewed eight CQC comment cards that had been completed by patients prior to our inspection. Patients felt they received excellent care in a calm and hygienic environment from staff who were thorough, kind and patient.

There were areas where the provider could make improvements and should:

  • Review the practice's recruitment policy and procedures to ensure character references for new staff are requested and recorded suitably.
  • Review the practice’s X-ray audit protocols to ensure bite-wing X-ray images (used to detect dental caries and bone loss in and around posterior teeth) are included.