MP’s dental practice receives enforcement action notice following CQC inspection

08 April 2022
2 min read

The Beresford Clinic in Wandsworth, belonging to Sir Paul Beresford, Conservative MP for Mole Valley in Surrey, recently received a notice of ‘enforcement action’ in a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report following an inspection.

Sir Paul’s practice was subject to a CQC inspection on November 22, 2021, under section 60 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 as part of the CQC’s regulatory functions. The inspection was planned to check whether the registered provider was meeting the legal requirements in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and associated regulations. The inspection was led by a CQC inspector, who was supported by a specialist dental adviser.  

The practice, which is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 9.00am and 2.00pm, is operated by a dental team which comprises of a dentist (Sir Paul) and a dental nurse.  

According to the report published by the CQC, the inspection focused on three questions, “to get to the heart of patients’ experiences of care and treatment”. These were: Is it safe, is it effective and is it well-led. 

Whilst the findings of the report concluded that the practice was providing effective care in accordance with the relevant regulations, and therefore required no action in this area, the investigation did reveal that the practice was not providing safe or well-led care in accordance with the relevant regulations, with the former receiving requirements notice and the latter enforcement action.  

The key findings in the report were:  

  • The practice appeared to be visibly clean and well-maintained.
  • The provider had some infection control procedures, but improvements were required.
  • Staff knew how to deal with emergencies. Most medicines and life-saving equipment were available; however some items were not available on the day of the inspection.
  • Improvements were required to the provider’s systems to manage risk to patients and staff.
  • There were insufficient assurances that equipment used by staff for sterilising used dental instruments was validated, maintained and used in line with the manufacturers’ guidance from July 2021
  • The provider could not provide assurances that the X-ray equipment was tested and checked in accordance with current national regulations and guidance.
  • Staff knew their responsibilities for safeguarding vulnerable adults and children.
  • The provider had a staff recruitment process.
  • The clinical staff provided patients’ care and treatment in line with current guidelines.
  • Staff provided preventive care and supported patients to ensure better oral health.
  • The provider had some information governance arrangements.
  • Risks to the health, safety and welfare of patients and staff were not assessed as part of an ongoing and robust system of governance and management.

The CQC brought these concerns to the attention of the provider and requested urgent action. They voluntarily decided to close the practice for a period of time to make urgent improvements. 

In addition to his role as an MP for Mole Valley, Sir Beresford is also the chair of the all-parliamentary group on dentistry and oral health, which will likely draw additional attention to the report.  

For example, commenting on the report on Twitter, Eddie Crouch, chair of the British Dental Association (BDA) said, “These are fundamentals in place to protect both dental patients and staff. This profession can be proud of the high standards we work to. Failure on the basics – on sterilisation and radiation – tarnishes that reputation”. 

Meanwhile, speaking to the Guildford Dragon, Sir Beresford wished to highlight that the failings centred around failure to comply with procedural regulations and that there was no criticism of the quality of dentistry provided at his practice. He expanded, “This is the second CQC inspector visit. The first, some years ago, gave the practice an excellent report. The latest was critical of procedures relating to a number of regulations which the surgery is now required to meet. There was and is absolutely no criticism of the standard or quality of dentistry.”