Westbrook House Dental Practice

Measurement of the patient experience
Patients and the public are included in the planning and evaluation of service provision and feedback that they provide via patient satisfaction, surveys, compliments and complaints.


The patient experience is reviewed annually in our clinical governance cycle to ensure that standards are maintained and improved.

There are private areas in the practice where patients can talk about confidential issues.

Patient Privacy, Dignity and Confidentiality

For the purpose of this policy confidential information is defined as personal information provided by an individual in confidence including, but not limited to, such details as name, age, address, personal circumstances, race, health, sexuality, etc. Note that even the fact that a patient attends the practice is confidential. This information may be supplied or stored on any medium and includes images, videos, health records, computer records or verbally.

All staff members are aware of their responsibilities for safeguarding patient confidentiality and keeping information secure and have received appropriate training on the legislation requirements to ensure that:

• No personal information given or received in confidence is passed on to anyone else without the prior consent of the information provider
• No personal information given or received in confidence for one purpose is used for another purpose without the prior consent of the information provider
• Patients are entitled to object to the use of their confidential information for any other purpose than their care
• The duty of confidentiality to deceased patients is treated in the same way as that of living patients
• The rules of disclosure are strictly followed every time information is passed on to another person or organisation

Personal information is only disclosed to another person or organisation when:

• The patient consent has been obtained
• The disclosure is in the patient's best interest (referral)
• The information recipient falls under the category of 'needs to know basis' and is directly involved in patient care or the use if justified for the purposes described in the list of the circumstances in the 'Disclosure on a need to know basis' section
• Disclosure is required by a court or a court order
• Disclosure is required by law
• Information is requested by the police in order to detect or prevent serious crime

The practice treats breaches of confidentiality very seriously. No team member Shali knowingly misuse any confidential information or allow others to do so. Non-compliance with this policy may result in a disciplinary action.

The practice is committed to complying with the requirements of the legislation governing patient confidentiality including: Access to Health Records 1990, Caldicott Guidelines 1997, Confidentiality Code of Practice 1998, Data Protection Act 1998 and the GDC Standards for Dental Professionals 2005 on Principles of Patient Confidentiality.

Patient Satisfaction

Patient retention has a fundamental influence on practice performance. A pleased patient may recommend you to family and friends. Unfortunately, an unhappy patient is many times more likely to express concerns to a wider group of people. Evidence suggests that the majority of clients don't make a complaint if dissatisfied, but they will talk about it. That is why it's always the best policy to try to elicit complaints from patients, to discover those areas of practice management that are falling short.

When monitoring patient satisfaction pay special attention to those who were unhappy with your services and carry out a thorough investigation into what could have caused the problem.

Patient satisfaction requires regular measuring and feedback. We recommend using a patient satisfaction survey

Carry out the survey using the questionnaire

Ask the receptionist to hand out the questionnaire to all non-casual returning patients on their arrival, making a note about it on the patient record . Carry out the survey when a significant number of forms have been completed (e.g. 100).

Put a box in the reception for patients to return the completed questionnaires.

Ask a member of staff to transfer the questionnaire results onto a spreadsheet and create a report using bar graphs or pie charts to enable you to see the overall trends.
If agreed, from the results, draw up a list of three or four changes that would have the most effect on patient satisfaction. These are presented to staff at the staff meeting. Discuss the results of the changes and any further actions at the Annual Management Review.

Print the comment and suggestion form (G 115B) and leave it in reception for on-going feedback on the perceived standard of care and service. Ask the receptionist to encourage patients to fill one in whilst waiting for their appointment. Put a box in reception for completed forms.

Ensure that completed forms are reviewed regularly and appropriate actions are taken when required. The most frequently mentioned comments or problems will be considered at the Annual Management Review or sooner if the problem warrants it.

• The Waiting Time Survey is a useful tool for monitoring associates and improving customer satisfaction
• For simplicity this audit only records 'exceptions', in this case patients who are seen more than 10 minutes late
• This survey can be used as a clinical audit but you will need to expand on the amount of data collected e.g to include arrival times and to record every patient. You will also need to set a standard such as 90% of patients are seen on time
• The survey is designed to be run for one month
• Print a few copies of the form (G 120A) for each dentist and ask the receptionist to complete them during the agreed period
• Compile the results of the survey and prepare a report for training and discussion of its results dur a practice meeting, highlighting the areas for improvement

Patients waiting in reception - protocol
Arriving patients
Patients are acknowledged as soon as they approach the reception desk. If dealing with another patient or on the telephone, the receptionist will smile to acknowledge the patient who has just arrived. If the dentist is running on time, the patient is welcomed and asked to take a seat.

If the dentist is running late the patient is informed and provided with the reason for delay e.g. [Mrs Smith has treated a patient who had a dental emergency. Unfortunately she is now running 15 minutes late, I hope that this won't be of too much inconvenience to you]. NOTE: when giving reasons for delay to a waiting patient, maintain absolute confidentiality concerning any other patient and their treatment.

After the patient has taken a seat, should s/he be kept waiting after the appointed time the following actions are taken: