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Dentists told to throw away old magazines

22nd October 2012

Health service managers have told dentists that magazines intended for patients to read while they wait for their appointment should only be kept for one week.

Dentist Chair

The advice relates to fears that old magazines could spread bacteria and represent a health and safety hazard.

The Telegraph reports that a dentist in Dorset was visited by a health service "infection control facilitator" who told her the old magazines in her waiting room could mean she failed an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

The dentist told the paper: "I was told that I ought not to have any magazines out that are more than a week old, because the Care Quality Commission wouldn't like it."

The Dorset Primary Care trust's facilitator also told the dentist that she needed to stop using Blu-Tack as it represented a "cross-infection risk".

Dr John Milne, Chairman of the British Dental Association's general dental practice committee,  said: "Providing magazines in waiting rooms for patients to read is a good way of helping them to relax and can ease the concerns of anxious individuals. Blu-Tack is often used to display posters that reinforce positive oral health messages or advise patients about the care that the practice provides."

"Too often, in recent years, it has felt like regulation has been designed to hinder, rather than support, dentists' efforts to care for their patients."

Since April this year dentists have had to register with the Care Quality Commission, which means their surgeries can be inspected and treatment standards checked. 

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