Dentist suspended amid fears over 'unsafe care'
PUBLISHED: 09:00 11 August 2014 | UPDATED: 09:02 11 August 2014
A 'DIRTY' mop being used to clean toilets and surgery floors plus a failure to properly sterilise medical equipment because of a lack of money, has led to a dentist having his registration suspended.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) believes patients may have been put ‘at risk of unsafe care’ and infections, had it not acted against Dr Nigel Smith at Woodborough Dental Practice.
Five members of staff even admitted to the CQC ‘they felt people were being put at risk when visiting’ because of a number of poor practises.
In its report published on Wednesday, the CQC called for the practice to make improvements in all seven areas it monitors including cleanliness, record keeping and supporting workers.
An initial inspection in February demanded changes were made but a check-up last month revealed concerns had not been acted on.
The practice was heavily criticised for failing to reduce the risk of infections.
Pouches used for sterilising equipment were not used properly because, with one staff member saying, ‘they are expensive and the practice is short of money’.
The floors were only cleaned once a week and inspectors noted the same ‘dirty’ mop was used on all surgery floors, including the toilets.
Medicines used on patients were also kept in the same fridge as food, increasing the risk of ‘unsafe practise’.
CQC inspectors said what they witnessed ‘indicated patients were at risk of unsafe care and treatment’.
Non-medical concerns included the storing of patients’ notes, some of which were kept in unlocked filling cabinets in the reception area.
Sampana Banga, CQC’s head of dentistry inspection said: “We have taken urgent action to suspend the registration of Woodborough Dental Practice because we believe patients may have been at risk of harm if we did not act.
“Dr Nigel Smith had not taken proper steps to ensure patients were protected against the risk of receiving inappropriate or unsafe care and treatment.
“He did not manage medicines safely, he had no risk assessments in place to ensure patients’ safety when they attended and the staff were not properly supported to maintain their skills and knowledge.
“We have to put the safety of patients first. If the practice satisfies us it has made sufficient progress, we will consider lifting the suspension.
“Otherwise we will consider using our legal powers further to protect the people who use this service.”
The Mercury tried to contact the practice before going to press but received no reply.