Twenty dental practices in the UK have been found lacking, according to information revealed by Which? consumer protection.
Out of ten NHS surgeries and ten private surgeries, eleven were rated ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ after visits from undercover Which? representatives. Dentist where found to rush examinations and overlook vital assessment points – in five cases, the consultation lasted less than ten minutes. It’s also an industry standard to offer an x-ray to a new patient, this did not occur in five of the twenty visits. Soft tissue checks were only made in five of the surgeries reviewed, a procedure that is an integral part of the screening process for oral cancers.
Only three of the twenty offices visited were found to be ‘good’, but none were rated ‘excellent’. Consultations at NHS dentists were eleven minutes long on average, not nearly long enough to have adequately assessed the subject’s conditions, according to industry experts.
The General Dental Council and the Care Quality Commission have both been alerted to the findings and taped evidence has been passed onto them from Which?, whose executive director Richard Lloyd has this to say; ‘In an industry that has not one but two regulators, this level of incompetence is unacceptable. Patients could be left with permanent problems that could have been easily avoided’.