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Dentists can learn from Mid Staffordshire failings

Posted bv Rachel Lucas

A report into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust has made nearly three hundred recommendations to healthcare improvements which, if enforced, could have implications for the dental industry.

Overall, the report states that there must be more openness and transparency across the board to avoid a repetition of events at the Trust. Any breach or obstruction of such candour should be made a criminal offence, it recommends.

The inquiry chairman, Robert Francis QC, concluded that those in the health industry should place patients at the centre of everything they do ensuring well-being precedes cost-cutting, targets and processes.

“People must always come before numbers. Individual patients and their treatment are what really matters,” he said.

Other guidance to ensure an improved, patient-focused level of service includes the development of measures on the suitability and capability of workers, including minimum staff numbers needed as well as ensuring that a mix of skills are available.

Furthermore, the introduction of a list of standards of patient safety, effectiveness of treatment and basic care are needed. Any organisation found to be not complying with these standards could be classed as a criminal offence, the report says. 

Commenting on the findings of the inquiry, Manchester dentist, Tariq Drabu, said that he believes that all organisations within the NHS must remember that compassionate care of patients should be at the forefront of everything they do.

The dentist, from Langley Dental Practice in Middleton, worked in the oral surgery department at Stafford Hospital in 1987 and found it to be a “wonderful” place to work. He said that he was “shocked” at the contents of the report which indicate that fundamental care to patients had been abandoned.

Mr Drabu said “As a team leader, manager and a director of Langley Dental Group I encourage an open and honest culture amongst all my staff. We must not lose sight of the fact that our primary duty is to care and look after our patients to the best of our ability. This is something that appears to have been forgotten at Stafford.”

The Health Select Committee is now undertaking an inquiry into the findings and the government will study the report fully before responding next month.

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