Practice Policy

Updated: May 2018

The Willows Dental Practice aims to provide dental care of a consistently high standard for all patients. We have management systems to help us and which define each practice member’s responsibilities when looking after you.

In proposing treatment we will always explain the options and costs where appropriate, so that you can make an informed decision.

We will ask you about your general health and about any medications which you are taking. This information helps us to treat you safely and is strictly confidential.

Every practice member receives training in practice systems for decontamination control and other health and safety measures e.g. Radiation control.

Practice working methods are reviewed regularly. We encourage all staff to make suggestions for improving the care of our patients and enhancing the smooth running of the practice, which is to everyone’s advantage.

We have systems for dealing promptly with patients complaints.

All dentists, nurses, hygienists and therapists in the practice take part in continuing professional education, meeting the General Dental Councils requirements. We aim to keep up to date with the current thinking on all aspects of general dentistry, including preventive care, which reduces your need for treatment.

All staff joining the practice are given training in practice-wide procedures. Once a year there is an individual review of training needs for everyone in the practice. There is also an annual CPR and medical emergencies training session.

In the unlikely event that someone in the practice becomes unfit to work, we have systems to ensure that concerns are investigated and, if necessary acted upon.

Statement of The Willows Dental Practice

We need to keep accurate personal data about patients in order to provide you with safe and appropriate dental care. We also need to process personal data about you if we are providing care under NHS arrangements and to ensure the proper management and administration of the NHS.

Privacy notice to patients

We will keep your records safely

This practice complies with the Data Protection Act (1998) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018. This means that we will ensure that your information is processed fairly and lawfully.

Click here for our website privacy policy.

What personal information do we need to hold?

  • Your past and current medical and dental condition; personal details such as your age, address, telephone number and your general medical practitioner
  • We may need to request details of your NHS number and entitlement to healthcare treatment
  • We may also need to request details of your exemption status
  • Radiographs, clinical photographs and study models
  • Information about the treatment that we have provided or propose and its cost
  • Notes of conversations or 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 this information?

We need to keep accurate personal data about patients in order to provide you with safe and appropriate dental care. We also need to process personal data about you if we are providing care under NHS arrangements and to ensure the proper management and administration of the NHS.

Retaining information

We are required to retain your dental records, X- rays and study models while you are a patient of this practice and after you cease to be a patient, for at least eleven years or until age 25, whichever is the longer.


Your information is held in the practice’s computer system and/or in a secure manual filing system. The information is only accessible to authorised personnel. Personal information will not be removed from this practice without the patient’s authorised consent.

Your personal information is carefully protected by the staff at this practice. All access to information is held securely and can only be accessed by regularly changed passwords. Data is encrypted and computer terminals are closed if unattended.

We may need to disclose your information

In order to provide proper and safe dental care to:

  • Your general medical practitioner
  • The hospital or community dental services
  • Other health professionals caring for you
  • NHS payment authorities
  • The Inland Revenue
  • The Benefits Agency, where you are claiming exemption or remission from NHS charges
  • Private dental schemes of which you are a member.

Disclosure will take place on a ‘need-to-know’ basis, so that only those individuals/organisations who need to know in order to provide care to you and for the proper administration of Government (whose personnel are covered by strict confidentiality rules) will be given the information. Only information that the recipient needs to know will be disclosed.

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.

Patient Safety Policy

We take patient safety very seriously in this practice and aim to ensure that incidents affecting patient safety directly and indirectly are kept to a minimum at all times. No matter how careful people are with the work that they undertake, mistakes can sometimes happen – the best people sometimes make the worst mistakes. Within our practice we encourage everyone to report mistakes and near misses as soon as possible so that action can be taken promptly.

The following procedure should be followed:

  • if an event happens that affects patient safety or potentially affects patient safety
  • if you feel something within the practice might affect patient safety in the future
  1. Lorraine Ward has been appointed the Patient Safety Officer within this practice. All patient safety incidents, near misses or concerns should be reported to her.
  2. The Patient Safety Officer will immediately enter the incident, near miss or concern in the incident report book and begin investigations on what happened, how it happened and why. She will consider with the clinician concerned whether the defence organisation should be informed.
  3. Where an incident has caused a patient harm or distress, the Patient Safety Officer will ensure that the patient has been given a full explanation of the incident and what action is being taken by the practice. Where appropriate, an apology will be given and followed up in writing if necessary. All communications with the patient (verbal and written) will be recorded.
  4. The Patient Safety Officer will also consider whether the patient, the immediate family of the patient, members of the team involved in the incident and those responsible for reporting the incident need further support. We aim to encourage reporting of adverse incidents and will not blame individuals when mistakes are made.
  5. When the details of the incident have been established, and if appropriate, the Patient Safety Officer will discuss the matter with the other members of the dental team at a practice meeting. Solutions or changes to current policies and protocols will be discussed fully and action agreed upon. If relevant, changes will be notified to the patient.
  6. The effectiveness of the solutions and/or changes will be reviewed at agreed intervals and the findings reported at practice meetings.
  7. The Patient Safety Officer will ensure that the incident is fully recorded and that the practice risk assessment is updated in the light of the proposed solutions or changes.
  8. The Patient Safety Officer will, where required, report adverse incidents to the Patient Safety Manager at the Strategic Health Authority, according to national guidelines.

Complaints Policy

The Willows Dental Practice Complaints Policy Reviewed 11th January 2017

Because we want to ensure that all our patients are pleased with their experience of our service, we take complaints very seriously indeed. If a patient makes a complaint, we will deal with the matter courteously and promptly so that it is resolved as quickly as possible. Our procedure is based on these objectives.

This Practice has an effective complaints system in place to ensure that identifying, receiving, recording, handling and response to any comments, observations or complaints occurs within a strict timetable which is clearly documented. The complaints system is clearly displayed and all patients and visitors are confident that they will be listened and responded to without fear of discrimination.

Any complainant can be assured that they will be treated in a manner respecting their human rights and diversity; in a sensitive manner and that the complaint can be made by a variety of methods either verbally, by sign language or in writing.

Where they lack confidence or require help they will be supported by helpful staff members. Their complaint will be fully documented and fairly dealt with and following investigation, lessons learned can lead to changes being made to avoid future complaints.

These clear complaint procedures are monitored and reviewed and the named contacts who are accountable for doing this are Lorraine Ward and Emma McConville

Patient complaint procedure

If a patient complains on the telephone or at the reception desk, we will listen to their complaint and offer to refer him/her to Lorraine Ward immediately.

If this named person 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.

  1. If the patient complains in writing the letter will be passed on immediately to Lorraine Ward
  2. Complaints about clinical care or associated charges will be referred to the clinician concerned, unless the patient does not want this to happen.
  3. A written response to a complaint with accompanying copy of our code of practice will be sent 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.
  4. We will confirm the decision about the complaint in writing immediately after completing our investigation
  5. Proper and comprehensive records are kept of any complaint received.

If you are not satisfied with the result of our procedure then a complaint may be made to:

For complaints about private treatment: The Dental Complaints Service (08456 120 540), The General Dental Council (The Dentist registration body) at 37 Wimpole Street, London W1M 8DQ

For complaints about NHS treatment: NHS England, Tel: 0300 311 2233, PO Box 16738 Redditch B97 9PT.

The Care Quality Commission at: Citygate, Gallowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE14PA

Patient Confidentiality

Our practice adheres to the standards for patient confidentiality as set out by the governing body for Dentistry the General Dental Council. You can see details of this by downloading their guide “Principles of Patient Confidentiality”.

Data Protection

Our practice fully complies with the Data Protection Act 1998. It is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office. Our registration number is Z2970652. Our practice data controller is Lorraine Ward. To download the ICO guide to data protection please click here.

Care Quality Commission

Our practice is registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Our registration number is CRT1-410610237.

If you have any questions about your own need for treatment or a specific aspect of our service, please call or email the dental practice

01625 520818

The Willows Dental Practice
141 Wilmslow Road, Handforth
Cheshire SK9 3HX

Close to public transport. Limited disabled parking is available on-site, for all other patients there is a public car park adjacent to the practice where 2 hours free parking is available.