Poole dentists celebrate excellence awards

By Joanna Codd

Poole dentists celebrate excellence awards

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A DENTAL surgery that weathered a crisis more than three years ago is celebrating after being given an excellence award by local health chiefs.

In 2009, around 3,500 patients of the Poole Lane Dental Practice in Bournemouth were contacted over concerns that a locum dentist may have exposed them to the risk of HIV or hepatitis because of lax infection control.

The locum, who worked at the Kinson practice for 10 months in 2008, had been taken on to cover for another dentist who had been suspended pending a General Dental Council fitness to practise hearing. He later left the dental register voluntarily.

The events were a blow for Ali Ebodi, who had been working under a separate contract at the same surgery. Although blameless, he suffered from the fallout as patients left the practice.

“That practice had nothing to do with me, but because it was in the same building, it affected me very much,” said Mr Ebodi.

He asked his wife Azi to join the business as practice manager, and the couple have managed to turn things around completely with the help of their staff.

The small practice in Kinson has been given a certificate of best practice by dental commissioners for its compliance with standards in decontamination of equipment and infection prevention and control.

“We have changed everything. It took a lot of time but everyone in the practice worked hard and the feedback we’ve had has been really positive. Patient satisfaction is 98 or 99 per cent,” said Azi.

“Patients started to come back when they saw the changes. The support we had from the primary care trust and dental advisor has been fantastic.”

Now back up to nearly 4,000 mostly NHS patients, people are clamouring to return. One patient travels from the Isle of Wight and others come from as far away as Devon.