Our Practice Polices and Procedures
General policies and procedures in use within the Dental Practice. These include, but are not restricted to, data protection, prescribing and prescription, health and safety
Reminders and Recalls
At the end of your course of treatment, your dentist will discuss with you when you need to see the dentist again. NHS dentists now follow guidelines issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on how often patients need to see their dentist, according to their oral health needs.
It is not always necessary for patients to have two NHS check-ups each year, if you do not need them. The Department of Health wishes NHS resources to be allocated to those who need it the most.
You can of course visit your dentist more often on a private basis if you would prefer to see your dentist more regularly regarding your oral health needs.
Quality Assurance Policy
This is the quality assurance policy of Active Smile, Grafton House Dental Surgery
Our practice aims to provide dental care of a consistent quality for all patients; we strive to meet the high standards expected in any clinical setting. We expect all members of our dental team to work to these standards to help us achieve our aim of providing a quality service. Our management systems define each practice member/s responsibility when looking after you.
The policies, systems and procedures in place in our practice reflect our professional and legal responsibility and follow recognised standards of good practice.
At Active Smile, Grafton House Dental Surgery we aim to achieve the best results for our patients through clear policies and systems and appropriately trained and competent team members. We evaluate our practice on a regular basis through audit, peer review and patient feedback and monitor the effectiveness of our quality assurance procedures.
We work with external agencies, including the British Dental Association, the primary care organisations.
Quality standards and procedures
Active Smile, Grafton House Dental Surgery has an effective procedure for assuring and enhancing the quality of the services we provide for our patients.
In providing our patients with care of a consistent quality, we will:
- Provide a safe and welcoming environment
- Ensure all members of the dental team are appropriately trained
- Provide p[patients with information’s about the practice and the care available and ensure that the patients understands the terms on which care is offered
- Display indicative treatment charges
- Explain all treatment options and agree clinical decisions with the patient, explaining the possible risks involved with each option
- Provide treatment plans based on the agreed treatment with an estimate of the likely costs
- Obtain valid consent for all the treatment. Written consent will be sought for extensive or expensive treatments
- Refer to specialist for investigation or treatment as appropriate and without any delay
- Maintain contemporaneous clinical records with an up-to-date medical history for all patients
- Provide secure storage of patient records to maintain patient confidentiality
- Explain the procedure to follow for raising a complaint about the services, identifying the practice contact
- Provide a safe working environment through hazard identification and risk assessment
- Provide induction training for all new team members
- Provide job description to all members of staff
- Review and update job description annually to reflect current duties and responsibilities
- Agree in writing the terms of self employment contractors working at the practice
Payments, Deposits and Refunds Policy
All payments must be made on the day of treatment unless stipulated otherwise within the dental treatment plan. Payment can be made by cash, cheque, credit/debit card or finance if approved.
Deposit paid for appointment booking confirmation will remain in credit on accounts and will be deducted from the treatment value.
Non-refundable deposit cannot be refunded due to payments being made in advance to suppliers, laboratories and other such parties.
When booking your first appointment, we will normally seek a deposit from you, payment of which is your confirmation of your commitment to attend your appointment. Our deposits are normally fully refundable providing sufficient notice of cancellation is given (48 hours).
NHS patients who are not exempt from fees may be asked to pay the Band 1 fee when they book the appointment. If they subsequently fail to attend the payment may be refunded in full.
The practice will refund any advance payments made by patients who wish to discontinue treatment or require a refund. Refunds will be processed via cheque by or credit card within 14 days of the refund request.
This in some cases may occur in additional administration charges.
The practice will send reminders to patients who have missed payments.
If no payment is received within seven days a reminder will be sent inviting the patient to contact the practice regarding payment options.
If, following the second reminder, no payment is received, a final reminder letter will be sent and the patient advised that further failure to make a payment may result in the practice instructing a debt collection agency or taking legal proceedings. Details of the agency will be provided to ensure that the patient knows who may contact them at a later date.
If, following the final reminder, no payment is received the practice will consider how to progress the matter. Action may include the engagement of a reputable debt collection agency or formal legal action.
No further appointments will be made until any outstanding debts are resolved.
In extreme circumstances and at the sole discretion of the practice owner and/or practice manager the debt may be written off.
Our dental practice is committed to providing a safe, supportive environment for patients. Where possible all patients will have a chaperone present for consultations, examination or procedures. Usually this will be a member of staff but it may also be a family member or friend.
The role of a chaperone includes:
- Providing emotional comfort and reassurance to patients
- To act as an interpreter
- To provide protection to healthcare professionals against unfounded allegations of improper behaviour.
Should you have any questions on our patient chaperone policy please speak to our patient care team..
Our Abusive or Violent Behaviour Policy
We appreciate for some visiting the dentist can be a stressful time, but if a patient is abusive or violent towards any members of our dental team, action will be taken and will be reported to the police immediately, the patient’s treatment will be terminated and if applicable NHS England Local Team will also be notified of the incident.
Medical History Forms
Medical history forms are required to competed by the patient on each routine dental examination and are verbally updated by the Dentist at every visit.
The importance of obtaining accurate medical history of patients cannot be stressed too highly. It should always be ascertained whether there has been any change in medical circumstances ahead of commencing treatment, particularly where drugs may be an element of the treatment plan to be followed. Intolerance or allergy can occasionally manifest with no previous history.
By completing the form it also help us to help you by keeping us informed with your current address and contact details.
You have the right to not to complete a medical history form , but this will affect our ability to provide you with dental care.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
On 25 May 2018 GDPR came in to force on how businesses and public-sector organisations can handle the information of customers. GDPR means that we are more accountable for handling of people’s personal information and as such we have updated our data protection policies.
Data Protection Code of Practice
Our data protection code of practice lays out our procedures that ensure Active Smile and our employees comply with The Data Protection Law, 2001 and The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Regulation (EU) 2016/679)
What personal data do we hold?
In order to provide you with a high standard of dental care and attention, we need to hold personal information about you. This personal data comprises:
- Your past and current medical and dental condition; personal details such as your age, national insurance number/NHS number, address, telephone number and your general medical practitioner
- Radiographs, clinical photographs and study models
- Information about the treatment that we have provided or propose to provide and its cost
- Notes of conversations/incidents that might occur for which a record needs to be kept
- Records of consent to treatment
- Any correspondence relating to you with other health care professionals, for example in the hospital or community services.
Why do we hold information about you?
We need to keep comprehensive and accurate personal data about patients to provide you with safe and appropriate dental care. We will ask you yearly to update your medical history and contact details.
We will retain your dental records while you are a practice patient and after you cease to be a patient, for at least eleven years, or for children until age 25, whichever is the longer.
Security of information
Personal data about you is held in the practice’s computer system and in a locked manual filing system. The information is only accessible to authorized team members. Our computer system has secure audit trails and we back up information routinely.
Disclosure of information
To provide proper and safe dental care we may need to disclose personal information about you to:
- Your general medical practitioner
- Dental Services i.e. GDC/NHS England/Special dental care
- Other health professionals caring for you
- NHS business service authority
- Private dental schemes of which you are a member
- Medical Specialist Group
- Agents and Third parties as required by legal and law
Disclosure will take place on a ‘need-to-know’ basis. Only those individuals/organisations who need to know to provide care for you and for the proper administration of Government (whose personnel are covered by strict confidentiality rules) will be given the information.
In very limited circumstances or when required by law or a court order, personal data may have to be disclosed to a third party not connected with your health care. In all other situations, disclosure that is not covered by this Code of Practice will only occur when we have your specific consent. Where possible you will be informed of these requests for disclosure.
Access to your records
You have the right of access to the data that we hold about you and to receive a copy. Parents may access their child’s records if this is in the child’s best interests and not contrary to a competent child’s wishes. Formal applications for access must be in writing to the practice.
First request is for free but any repeated requests might be charged at a fee for access of up to £10 (for records held on computer) or £50 (for those held manually or for computer-held records with non-computer radiographs). We will provide a copy of the record within 40 days of receipt of the request and fee (where payable) and an explanation of your record should you require it.
If you do not agree
If you do not wish personal data that we hold about you to be disclosed or used in the way that is described in this Code of Practice, please discuss the matter with your dentist. You have the right to object, but this may affect our ability to provide you with dental care.
Failure to Attend and Late Cancellation Charges
We fully appreciate that the ‘unexpected’ can always happen and the best made plans can change, but given the current demand from our patients requiring appointments and the much longer than normal waiting times, it is now more than ever important for patients to advise the practice when they are not able to attend or wish to cancel their appointments.
Every year at the practice we lose many hours of valuable surgery time because of patients failing to attend their appointments, or cancelling at short notice. This makes it more difficult for us to accommodate our patients in need of urgent treatment, patients wanting to book routine appointments and for new patients to register with the practice.
Patients who are unable to make their appointment because of illness should, where possible, contact the practice as soon as they are aware that they cannot attend. If you are unsure whether you can make it to an appointment, please contact us early to discuss the matter rather than leaving it to the last minute.
We require a minimum of 24 hours notice should you need to cancel an appointment. Failing to notify us 24 hours before the appointment time will result in a failure to attend charge being made unless there are exceptional circumstances.
If a cancellation is made within the same treatment session as the patient is due this will be deemed as a fail to attend.
Patients failing to attend appointments for Independent Dental treatments will be charged £1.50 per minute to part cover the lost surgery time and running costs. For example, a missed 30 minute appointment will incur a charge of £45.00
Patients failing to attend Hygienist appointments will be charged £17.50
We feel that it is fairer to charge individuals who have failed to attend appointments rather than have to increase treatment prices to all of our patients who do regularly attend.
Other appointments will not be made until any Cancellation / FTA charges are paid.
NHS patients failing to attend more than 3 appointments within a 2 year period will be removed from our patient register.
If you have any questions regarding our cancellation and failure to attend policy please do not hesitate to contact patient care team.
Equality and Diversity Policy
Our vision is for Active Smile - Grafton House Dental Surgery to be a successful, caring and welcoming place for patients to receive dental care and advice. We want to create a supportive and inclusive environment where our staff can reach their full potential and care is provided in partnership with patients, without prejudice or discrimination. We are committed to a culture where respect and understanding is fostered and the diversity of people's backgrounds and circumstances will be positively valued.
This policy will help us to achieve this vision.
The rights of our patients and our staff with regards to discrimination are protected by anti-discrimination legislation including:
- The Equality Act 2010
- Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000
- Employment Rights Act 1996
By adopting this policy, we accept our responsibility to ensure that discrimination does not take place and that everyone is treated fairly and equally.
The aim of this policy is to achieve equality of care experience by removing any potential discrimination in the way that people are cared for and treated by the Practice, including:
- people with disabilities
- people of different sexual orientations
- transgendered and transsexual people
- people of different races
- people on the grounds of their sex
- people of faith and of no faith
- people in relation to their age
- people in relation to their social class or medical condition
- people who work part-time
- people who are married or in a civil partnership
- women who are pregnant, have recently given birth or are breastfeeding
Putting this policy into practice
We aim to develop and support equality and diversity measures by:
- providing patient information in a variety of languages, if required
- having translation services available for patients who need this
- providing services that are accessible to patients with disabilities
- ensuring that care of individuals is planned with their specific needs at the centre
- tackling oral health inequalities through positive promotion and care
- involving patient groups and individuals in the design of our service
- responding positively to the diverse needs and experiences of our patients and the community even when those needs are challenging to deal with
- Ensuring that we join up with services involved with the care of patients with particular medical and social care needs.
Comments and concerns
If you believe you have been treated in any way contrary to this policy or you have any comments on how we can ensure that it works better, please contact Ashleigh Rollinson at the practice. We will investigate your concerns and take appropriate action.
Monitoring and review
We will monitor the effectiveness of this policy and the impact on all other relevant policies and practice. This review will happen when necessary and as a minimum annually.
We are committed to ensuring that patients are given sufficient information about the costs associated with their care to allow them to make informed decisions.
Before any treatment is undertaken, the treatment options and associated costs are explained in full to the patient in a way that the patient understands. The patient is allowed time to consider the information provided and to ask questions. A written treatment plan and estimate of the costs are provided for all dental treatment.
Where changes to treatment are necessary and agreed with a patient, we ensure that any cost implications are fully explained.
Details of any fees incurred and payments made are recorded in the patient’s clinical records and checked at each visit. Payments that remain outstanding are also recorded. Where appropriate, patients are given an itemised bill.
In our practice, we treat patients politely and with respect, recognising their dignity and rights as individuals. We also encourage patients to be involved in decisions about their care and, before embarking on any aspect of patient care, we seek their consent to do so – recognising the rights of patients to decide what happens to their bodies. We recognise that patients have the right to refuse advice or treatment.
We aim to provide each patient with sufficient information in a way that they can understand to allow them to make a decision about their care. We will use various communication tools to ensure that the patient understands what is being suggested.
In our discussions with patients, we explore what they want to know to help them make their decisions and explain:
- why we feel the treatment is necessary
- the risks and benefits of the proposed treatment
- what might happen if the treatment is not carried out
- the alternative treatment options and their risks and benefits
We encourage patients to ask questions and aim to provide honest and full answers. We always allow patients time to make their decisions.
We always make sure that the patient understands whether they are being treated under the NHS or privately and what the costs will be. Where a patient embarks on a course of treatment, we provide a written treatment plan and cost estimate.
Where changes to the treatment plan are needed, we obtain the patient’s agreement and consent, including to any changes in the costs. The patient is given an amended treatment plan and estimate.
Voluntary decision making
Decisions about their care must be made by the patient, and without pressure. We respect the patient’s right to:
- refuse to give consent to treatment
- change their minds after they have given consent.
When this occurs we will not put pressure on the patient to reconsider but where we feel it is important, we will inform the patient of the consequence of not accepting treatment.
Ability to give consent
Every person aged 16 or over has the right to make their own decisions and is assumed to be able to do so, unless they show otherwise. We recognise that, in some circumstances, children under 16 years may be able to give informed consent to examination and treatment.
Where we have doubts about a patient’s ability to give informed consent, we will seek advice from our defence organisation.
Reference: GDC Standards Guidance – Principles of Patient Consent
The practice is committed to complying with the Data Protection Act 1998 by collecting, holding, maintaining and accessing data in an open and fair way
The practice will only keep relevant information about employees for the purposes of employment, or about patients to provide them with safe and appropriate dental care.
The practice will not process any relevant ‘sensitive personal data’ without prior informed consent. As defined by the Act ‘sensitive personal data’ is that related to political opinion, racial or ethnic origin, membership of a trade union, physical or mental health or condition, religious or other beliefs of a similar nature. Sickness and accidents records will also be kept confidential.
All manual and computerised records will be kept in a secure place; they will be regularly reviewed, updated and destroyed in a confidential manner when no longer required. Personnel records will only be seen by appropriate management.
Patients’ records will only be seen by appropriate team members. To facilitate patients’ health care the personal information about them may be disclosed to a doctor, health care professional, hospital, NHS authorities, the Inland Revenue, the Benefits Agency (when claiming exemption or remission from NHS charges) or private dental schemes of which the patient is a member. In all cases the information shared will be only that which is relevant to the situation. In very limited cases, such as for identification purposes, or if required by law, information may have to be shared with a party not involved in the patient’s health care. In all other cases, information will not be disclosed to such a third party without the patient’s written authority.
Our aim is to react to complaints in the way in which we would want our complaint about a service to be handled. We learn from every mistake that we make and we respond to customers’ concerns in a caring and sensitive way.
- The person responsible for dealing with any complaint about the service that we provide is Ashleigh Rollinson, our Complaints Manager.
- If a patient complains on the telephone or at the reception desk, we will listen to their complaint and offer to refer him or her to the Complaints Manager immediately. If the Complaints Manager is not available at the time, then the patient will be told when they will be able to talk to the dentist and arrangements will be made for this to happen. The member of staff will take brief details of the complaint and pass them on. If we cannot arrange this within a reasonable period or if the patient does not wish to wait to discuss the matter, arrangements will be made for someone else to deal with it.
- If the patient complains in writing the letter will be passed on immediately to the Complaints Manager.
- If a complaint is about any aspect of clinical care or associated charges it will normally be referred to the dentist, unless the patient does not want this to happen.
- We will acknowledge the patient’s complaint in writing and enclose a copy of this code of practice as soon as possible, normally within three working days.
- We will seek to investigate the complaint within ten working days of receipt to give an explanation of the circumstances which led to the complaint. If the patient does not wish to meet us, then we will attempt to talk to them on the telephone. If we are unable to investigate the complaint within ten working days we will notify the patient, giving reasons for the delay and a likely period within which the investigation will be completed.
- We will confirm the decision about the complaint in writing immediately after completing our investigation.
- Proper and comprehensive records are kept of any complaint received.
If you do not wish to complain directly to the Practice you can address your Complaint directly to:
The Care Quality Commission, Citygate, Gallowgate,Newcastle upon Tyne, NE14PA
For complaints about private treatment:
The General Dental Council, 37 Wimpole Street, London, W1M 8DQ (0845 222 4141)
Parliamentary & Health Service, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London, Parliamentary & Health Service (0345 015 403)
Appointments and Cancellations
We are committed to providing our patients with regular dental care. Regular check-ups will help you to maintain good oral health and help reduce the need for more costly dental treatments.
Your dentist will recommend the intervals for your visits based on your individual oral health needs. If you are unable to keep an appointment we kindly ask that you please provide us with at least 24 hours notice so that we are able to offer someone else that time.
You may cancel a course of treatment for which you have booked an appointment and be fully refunded any fees paid for treatment not yet performed, provided you give a minimum of 24 hours prior notice. If 24 hours prior notice is not received, the practice reserves the right to withhold a proportionate amount of money, based upon the length of the appointment, to cover overheads.
Patients who regularly fail to attend, cancel or arrive late for appointments will be required to pay for any treatments in advance or may not be offered further appointments. Patients who wish to cancel Independent or Hygienist treatments are required to provide 24 hours notice, or a Failure to Attend or Late Cancellation charge may be applied.