Meopham Dental Care, based in Kent, has been announced as the Mouth Cancer Foundation’s ‘Practice of the month’ for March.
The team was chosen from all dental practices across the UK who have signed up to the charity’s new scheme.
The scheme aims to highlight and draw attention to dentists and the dental team carrying out a thorough head and neck cancer check at routine appointments.
The scheme is a ‘two minutes to save a life’ screening protocol, which is a 10-point checklist every dentist should be able to include in their routine examinations, whether they’re based at an NHS, private or mixed practice.
Meopham Dental Care have won due to going above and beyond to implement the charity's scheme.
Louise Hunt, from Meopham Dental Care, outlines how Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation scheme has inspired her team to raise public awareness of mouth cancer.
Tell us about your practice
We aim to make every patient feel welcome and completely relaxed when visiting our practice.
Our highly trained staff will ensure that you receive the very best in modern private dentistry in a personalised, friendly setting.
It is a mercury-free practice and has been accredited by the British Dental Association (BDA) under its Good Practice Scheme.
We take time to explain proposed treatments and provide a comprehensive service from specialist implant services, complex cosmetic treatments to simple white fillings.
We pride ourselves on our patient care and attention to detail, aiming to make even the most nervous patient feel at ease and smile with confidence.
What attracted you to the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation scheme?
We diagnosed a patient with a very early lesion in 2011 and were congratulated by the consultants for our vigilance.
Early detection made a huge difference to his outcome.
The main motivation to join the programme was a patient who was diagnosed with mouth cancer eight years ago.
She has become a friend to us all allowing us to have an insight into the impact the cancer has had on her and her family.
We are very sad to report that this patient has sadly lost her fight with cancer and has recently died due to secondary lesions.
It was this lady who notified us of the scheme and why we felt it was important for us to become members and actively support the charity.
How has the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation scheme helped the Meopham Dental Care team reach best practice standards in the management of mouth cancer in general practice?
We try to offer the best service to patients, for example we have IHAS (Independent Healthcare Advisory Services) registration and BDA Good Practice Accreditation and we thought this was an excellent opportunity to improve our clinical governance further.
We felt joining the programme would consolidate our knowledge and demonstrate our commitment.
The accreditation has formalised learning and referral pathways and has increased awareness of the issue for the staff and patients.
The programme has encouraged us to reach out to the local community and we have been able to support more patients with issues arising from mouth cancer and its treatment.
What benefits has Meopham Dental Care seen for the team, patients and wider community since introducing the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation scheme into practice?
We have always supported and promoted the awareness of mouth cancer within the surgery, from literature and information presented in the waiting room, to offering free screenings and open days.
By introducing the scheme to the practice team in its entirety we are now more aware and even better placed to support the patients more confidently.
The whole team are now more eager to develop their knowledge together; with the support of the reception team and nurses, patients are now offered more helpful advice and care without even having to go into the surgery.
Every month we have a discussion in our staff meeting and how we feel our progress is going and how we can change things.
As a team we are doing a charity bike ride for Mouth Cancer Action month, which has received a fantastic response from our patients, some even want to join in with us!