Revealed: ‘Disgust’ at dirty Leeds dental surgery deemed unsafe by care watchdog

Rothwell Dental Surgery, in Butcher Lane, Rothwell. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Rothwell Dental Surgery, in Butcher Lane, Rothwell. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Dirty and cluttered surgeries, brimming bins of clinical waste and unclean equipment have been uncovered at an unsafe Leeds dental practice.

Health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated Rothwell Dental Surgery, in Butcher Lane, Rothwell, as ‘requires improvement’ after an inspection revealed a shocking catalogue of issues.

Rothwell Dental Surgery, in Butcher Lane, Rothwell. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Rothwell Dental Surgery, in Butcher Lane, Rothwell. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Inspectors noted that treatment rooms were “rather dirty”, some dental burs used to drill teeth were unclean, floors were stained and a room used for decontaminating equipment was also used to make hot drinks for staff.

The CQC deemed that the surgery was “not providing safe care” and ordered it to improve after failing to meet three legal requirements outlined in the Health and Social Care Act – but it remains open to patients.

A former worker at the surgery, speaking on the condition of anonymity, claims to have informed the CQC of problems at the practice and feels urgent action needs to be taken.

She said: “I know people are going in there and patients are not safe and I just think it’s a ticking timebomb.

“The CQC may go back but in the meantime these patients are being seen in a practice with huge, huge issues. I think it’s disgusting.”

In a January report, released following a November visit, inspectors also found the solution used for decontaminating instruments to be “visibly dirty” and unchanged from the day prior and nurses were failing to wear adequate personal protection equipment during decontamination. It was also noted that there was no child-sized oxygen mask in its emergency kit.

Rothwell Dental Surgery has since pledged to increase clinical waste collections, which had been deemed “insufficient” by the CQC, and notify staff of the “correct procedures to follow, provide staff training, and put immediate procedures in place to manage risks”.

An NHS England spokeswoman confirmed that it is working to ensure the practice meets the CQC’s recommendations and “provide services to patients which meet the standards now and in the future”.

Rothwell Dental Surgery hit the headlines four years ago when dentist, Dr Anand Kamath, took his own life amid an NHS investigation into his record keeping.

A CQC spokesman said that it has ordered Rothwell Dental Surgery to take various actions and routinely re-inspects within six months.

Rothwell Dental Surgery did not respond when contacted for comment.

What the inspectors said

On clinical waste: “The practice had a contract for the collection of clinical waste. This was for six bags of clinical waste each month. The waste collection was at the end of each month. On the day we visited, we saw the clinical waste bins used to store clinical waste were full. We were told that excess clinical waste was stored in the cellar until the clinical waste bins were collected. It was evident that the contract for the collection of clinical waste was insufficient.”

On equipment: “In the ground floor surgery we found dental burs were stored in a small box which was dirty and some of the burs also looked dirty.”

On cleaning equipment: “Decontamination procedures were carried out in a dedicated decontamination room. However, we saw that the decontamination room was also used to make hot drinks as there was a kettle, a box of tea bags and a jar of coffee in the clean area.”

On cleaning equipment: “We saw that the solution in the scrubbing sink was visibly dirty before the first decontamination process of the day.”