Plymouth Dental Access Centre has been rated a ‘notable practice’ by inspectors who say other dentists could learn from them.
The glowing reference was made by Care Quality Commission inspectors who visited the centre, run by Livewell Southwest, in Baring Street in December. They gave the top rating available for the five categories: safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs and well-led.
The inspection team, which included an experienced dental expert, singled out for praise the staff’s commitment to promoting equality of access for all patients and seeking out vulnerable groups and were particularly impressed that:
- information about dental treatments is available in a range of pictorial forms, intended for patients with learning disabilities the website is available in over 100 languages and can be adapted to make reading easier for visually impaired patients
- on-site interpreter services are planned in advance for people speaking English as a second language and for hearing- impaired patients
- there are key staff to work with refugee families in the local area
- a wheelchair platform allows wheelchair users to be treated in their own chair. Information is signposted in Braille throughout the building.
The inspectors said: “These approaches demonstrate a commitment to identifying and responding to the needs of individual patients and to the needs of vulnerable groups and supporting patients to achieve positive outcomes in respect of their oral health.”
Tessa Fielding, manager, said: “We are really thrilled with the report and the fact the inspectors were so positive about everything they saw and heard. They gathered a lot of feedback from patients and it was especially rewarding for all the staff here to learn that the people who use our services were very positive about their experience.”
The centre was badly damaged by an arson attack in August, and the inspectors were impressed at how quickly services were restored in the aftermath.
Tessa said: “The fire caused major problems, with one floor out of action because of smoke and water damage. But staff here and colleagues from across Livewell Southwest pitched in and we managed to minimise the impact to patients by arranging for them to be seen at alternative sites for the weeks we were forced to close treatment rooms.
“The inspectors were really keen to see how we put our emergency plan into action and were impressed at the way it all worked.
“This fantastic report is testament to the commitment, enthusiasm and professionalism of every member of the team.”