Dentist rapped for hygiene horrors

Lympsham Dental Practice, The Old Rectory.

Lympsham Dental Practice, The Old Rectory. - Credit: Archant

A FEMALE dentist has been branded a ‘risk to patients’ after storing dirty equipment at her practice, using out-of-date materials and allowing cats to roam the premises.

An inquiry by the General Dental Council (GDC) was told Susan Edworthy had fallen ‘seriously below the standard of a reasonable dentist’ after multiple visits were made by NHS Somerset and the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Despite these findings, Ms Edworthy continues to work at the practice and the inquiry’s report says this is her intention until she can sell it.

Substandard behaviour identified at last week’s inquiry included equipment not being decontaminated and advising a dental nurse to limit the use of disinfectant spray between patients.

A report of the professional conduct committee hearing stated there were ‘multiple failings regarding basic patient care which were repeated over a sustained period of time’.

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It also said: “In the committee’s judgement… there is a risk of you (Edworthy) not maintaining the appropriate levels of infection control and hygiene in your practice and therefore you continue to pose a risk to patients.”

The findings in the inquiry’s report came following inspector visits to Lympsham Dental Practice, in Rectory Way, from January 2009 to September 2012.

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The inquiry report also stated visits made by NHS Somerset and the CQC in April last year showed ‘considerable progress’ but the committee remained ‘concerned’ Ms Edworthy would not be able to maintain that level of improvement.

It said: “The committee is concerned that the improvements have only come about as a result of the involvement of NHS Somerset and the CQC, which led to you agreeing voluntary undertakings.”

The conduct committee also took on board a list of supportive letters from colleagues and patients who confirm they ‘have no current concerns regarding the standard of cross infection control’ at the practice.

Ms Edworthy said: “I have fully co-operated with the General Dental Council and I have taken all the necessary steps to ensure that I can provide my patients with the best possible dental care.”

The committee has imposed 11 conditions for nine months on Ms Edworthy’s registration as a dental practitioner.

These include creating a personal development plan, designed to address the concerns outlined in the inquiry, meeting with a postgraduate dental dean or director to discuss her progress and carrying out audits on maintaining standards on hygiene and infection control.

She must also make the GDC aware if she takes on a new job.

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