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Inspection carried out on 26 September 2016

During a routine inspection

We carried out an announced comprehensive inspection on 26 September 2016 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.


Northway dental practice is situated in Maghull. The practice has two dental treatment rooms, a waiting area, a reception area and a patient toilet on the ground floor of the premises. A further two treatment rooms, a dedicated decontamination room; office and storage facilities are situated on the first floor.

There is wheelchair access and disabled toilet facilities on the ground floor. Patients with restricted mobility and families with pushchairs or young children were seen in one of the ground floor treatment rooms.

The Practice offers mainly NHS treatment (approximately 75%) to patients of all ages and some private dental care services. The services provided include preventative advice and treatment and routine and restorative dental care.

The practice has two principal dentists, whom are the owners, an associate dentist, a foundation dentist, a dental hygiene therapist and five qualified dental nurses. A practice manager and lead receptionist, both of whom are qualified dental nurses; and a business manager complete the dental team. The practice is open Monday to Friday from 9.00am until 5.00pm.

The practice is a training practice for the Dental Foundation Training (DFT) scheme. DFT provides postgraduate dental education for newly qualified dentists in their first (foundation) year of practice; usually within general dental practices. One of the principal dentists is a trainer for the DFT scheme and provides clinical and educational supervision. The practice currently has one full time dentist who is in their first (foundation) year of practice.

One of the principal dentists 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.

We viewed 43 CQC comment cards that had been left for patients to complete, prior to our visit, about the services provided. We reviewed patient feedback gathered by the practice over the last 12 months. Feedback from patients was positive about the care they received from the practice. They commented that staff put them at ease and listened to their concerns and that they had confidence in the dental services provided.

Our key findings were:

  • We found the practice ethos was to provide patient centred dental care in a relaxed and friendly environment.

  • The practice had systems to assess and manage risks to patients, including infection prevention and control, health and safety, safeguarding, recruitment and the management of medical emergencies.

  • Dentists provided dental care in accordance with current professional and National Institute for Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines.

  • Patients commented they felt involved in their treatment and that it was fully explained to them.
  • Patients were able to make routine or emergency appointments when needed. There were clear instructions for patients regarding out of hours care.
  • There were sufficient numbers of suitably qualified and skilled staff to meet the needs of patients.
  • The practice had a safeguarding lead with effective processes in place for safeguarding adults and children living in vulnerable circumstances.
  • There were systems to monitor and continually improve the quality of the service; including a programme of clinical and non-clinical audits.
  • There were clearly defined leadership roles within the practice and staff told us they felt well supported and comfortable to raise concerns or make suggestions.
  • Staff had received training appropriate to their roles and were supported in their continued professional development (CPD) by the practice owners, practice manager and business manager.