Yiannis Kotoulas reveals the winners of this year’s schulke Infection Prevention and Control Practice of the Year

At an awards ceremony held at BDIA Dental Showcase last month, Cwmbran Dental Care was named the schulke Infection Prevention and Control Practice of the Year for 2018.

Following a glamorous champagne reception attended by teams from the eight shortlisted practices, the dental press and involved companies, Stuart Thompson, managing director of George Warman Publications, the publisher of Dental Nursing, Dental Update and The Dentist, warmly welcomed everyone to the ceremony before praising the exceptionally high standard of the 100-plus practice entries. The award has become larger and the quality of the entrants higher every year it has run so far, and this fourth year was no exception. He added that these awards remained a fantastic opportunity to promote infection prevention and control of the highest standard and celebrate the fantastic teams that take it above and beyond.

Entrants this year reached a particularly high standard, which meant the judges faced the unenviable challenge of shortlisting just eight practices and then selecting a winner. Judging this year’s competition were Julie Bissett, Dental Nursing editor, Clare Clark, technical support manager at schulke, Louis Mackenzie, a clinical lecturer at Birmingham University, and Alex Breitenbach, managing director of NSK. Julie, following Stuart’s welcome, awarded the two certificates for being highly commended among the shortlist to Bupa Dental Care, Darlington and Reginald O’Neill Dental Care, Billericay. Louis Mackenzie took to the stage and explained why the competition was important and stated that selecting the winners had been a difficult judging process, thanking the teams in attendance for the pleasure of looking over their impressive applications. Competition this year was so tight that two runner-ups were decided on, and Louis presented Wood Lane Dentistry, Reading with their trophy first, stating that the judges had singled them out for their team focus as well as the fact the team ‘took its philosophy out into the community by doing training in care homes to improve the care given to residents’. Church Street Dental Care, Wincanton received their trophy next, which Louis explained impressed the judges by ‘putting the highest standards on infection prevention at the core of everything the practice does’.

The next and final speaker was Alex Breitenbach, who awarded the winner’s trophy and prize. As managing director of NSK, the provider of the award’s first place prize of an NSK iClave plus, Alex spoke of his passion for effective infection prevention and control and said how happy he was to be involved in a competition of such high calibre. Cwmbran Dental Care were then invited to the stage to receive their first-place winner’s trophy and certificate, after which practice co-principal Ruth Collis said a few words. She explains: ‘There is very much a team approach at our practice and we incorporate cross-infection and decontamination into everything we do. This award is for all of the hard-working team and we’re so surprised, thrilled and delighted to be recognised. There’s a focus on evidence-based dentistry in our practice and and a strong emphasis on safeguarding our patients and staff. ’

Strong pool

Cwmbran Dental Care was chosen from among a very strong pool of entries by the judges of this year’s competition, and for good reason. Infection control is taken seriously by the team at the practice – to a level that exceeds HIW/CQC requirements or expectations, even majorly factoring in renovation decisions and design choices. Speaking after the ceremony, Ruth explained a little more about her team’s focus.

She says: ‘A lot of good decon practice is about a mindset, and our team work really well to keep everyone focused on the high requirements we have in practice. It can be difficult to train yourself out of bad habits, such as opening drawers with your gloves on – but just keeping up motivation and staying positive with education has done wonders.

'The hygienists and receptionists are not forgotten and the whole team is so passionate about constantly improving, too – one of our dental nurses even read the HTM O1-05 regulations while on holiday and the team is always keen to keep on learning. We worked for a long time without a decon room so, when we eventually got one, it was great and we put all of our learning into designing it, making sure we had press-to-open cabinets and a clear progression from dirty to clean. Constant risk-assessment is a massive part of decon so we always try to think ahead to what can be done better.’

Soon to receive their new NSK autoclave, the Cwmbran team will return to their practice with their trophy in pride of place, effectively communicating their high standards to patients and visitors.

Matthew Calder, the other practice co-principal, concluded the team’s feelings – ‘We’re a small practice so never thought we’d win an award like this. It feels great to be recognised for the team’s hard work though, because our patients love how much we care.’

The team from Cwmbran Dental Care with Alex Breitenbach.

Bupa Dental Care, Darlington with Stuart Thompson and Julie Bissett

Reginald O'Neil Dental Care with Stuart Thompson and Julie Bissett

Wood Lane Dentistry with Louis Mackenzie and Stuart Thompson

Church Street Dental Care