We carried out this announced comprehensive inspection on 28 March 2023 under section 60 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 as part of our regulatory functions.
We planned the inspection to check whether the registered practice was meeting the legal requirements in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and associated regulations.
The inspection was led by a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspector who was supported by a specialist dental advisor.
To get to the heart of patients’ experiences of care and treatment, we always ask the following 5 questions:
- Is it safe?
- Is it effective?
- Is it caring?
- Is it responsive to people’s needs?
- Is it well-led?
These questions form the framework for the areas we look at during the inspection.
Our findings were:
- The dental clinic appeared clean and well-maintained.
- The practice had infection control procedures which reflected published guidance.
- Staff knew how to deal with medical emergencies. Appropriate medicines and life-saving equipment were available.
- Safeguarding processes were in place and staff knew their responsibilities for safeguarding vulnerable adults and children.
- The practice had staff recruitment procedures to help them employ suitable staff.
- Clinical staff provided patients’ care and treatment in line with current guidelines.
- Patients were treated with dignity and respect. Staff took care to protect patients’ privacy and personal information.
- Staff provided preventive care and supported patients to ensure better oral health.
- The appointment system worked efficiently to respond to patients’ needs.
- The frequency of appointments was agreed between the dentist and the patient, giving due regard to National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines.
- Staff felt involved, supported and worked as a team.
- Staff and patients were asked for feedback about the services provided.
- Complaints were dealt with positively and efficiently.
- Shortfalls identified in the assessment and mitigation of risks relating to the undertaking of regulated activities were immediately rectified.
Skin & Smiles @ Whippendell Dental is in Watford and provides private dental care and treatment for adults and children.
There is step free access to the practice for people who use wheelchairs and those with pushchairs, although the treatment rooms are accessed by a flight of stairs. Car parking spaces, including dedicated parking for disabled people, are available near the practice. The practice has made some adjustments to support patients with access requirements.
The dental team includes 1 dentist, 2 dental nurses - one of whom also carries out practice management duties, 1 trainee dental nurse, 1 dental hygienist and an administrator. The practice has 3 treatment rooms.
During the inspection we spoke with the dentist, the trainee dental nurse and the dental nurse/practice manager. We looked at practice policies, procedures and other records to assess how the service is managed.
The practice is open:
Monday, Wednesday from 9am to 7pm
Tuesday, Thursday from 9am to 5.45pm
Friday from 9am to 4.30pm
The practice had taken steps to improve environmental sustainability.
- Becoming virtually paperless and by not making use of plastic, wherever possible.
- Using digital impression equipment to significantly reduce the use of clinical impression materials.
- Using technology for the construction of dental restorations onsite, and hence reducing the need for transporting materials off-site to a dental laboratory.
- Using digital X-ray systems to reduce the amount of radiation released into the environment.
There were areas where the provider could make improvements. They should:
- Take action to implement any recommendations in the practice's fire safety risk assessment and ensure ongoing fire safety management is effective.
- Improve the practice's processes for the control of substances hazardous to health identified by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH), to ensure risk assessments are undertaken and the products are stored securely.
- Take action to ensure audits of radiography, infection prevention and control and record keeping are undertaken at regular intervals to improve the quality of the service. The practice should also ensure that, where appropriate, audits have documented learning points and the resulting improvements can be demonstrated.
- Improve the practice's systems for assessing, monitoring and mitigating the various risks arising from the undertaking of the regulated activities. In particular, undertake a general health and safety risk assessment for the premises.