We pulled together all our findings from our programme of dental Enter and View visits to create a self-audit checklist for dentists to start a conversation with their patients to improve services to meet their access needs.
From 2017 to 2019 we visited 28 dental practices in 5 districts in Hertfordshire to look at:
- Information Access
- Complaints Handling
- Communication and Support Needs
- Physical Access
We wrote reports and made recommendations for each visit. The individual reports, recommendations and responses from the dental practices have all been published on our website here.
At the end of the programme it was suggested by the Hertfordshire Local Dental Committee that they would welcome a self-audit checklist based on the Enter and View visits so that all dental practices could benefit from the project.
We designed a self-audit checklist based on the findings from our reports, good practice and what patients had told us would make a difference for them.
- Quality and consistency of information available for patients was variable and not always up to date, especially on the NHS website which is a key source for patients to find a local dentist that is accepting NHS patients.
- Dental practices generally had good processes for complaints handling but were not always providing the right information to support patients who needed to take their complaint further.
- External signage was good but not all had out of hours and emergency details displayed.
- We found some excellent examples of dental practices who proactively sought patient feedback.
- Practices had processes in place for recording and supporting patient communication and accessibility needs but improvements could be made especially for those patients who are deaf or have English as a second language.
- External and internal access to the practice varied depending on the age and location of the building. When making improvements, practices need to consider how the improvements will benefit their patients, particularly those with limited mobility (wheelchair users, parents with buggies) and those with sight impairments or living with dementia.