Keith pictured with his mug for
2000 posts on GDPUK
Here at GDPUK towers we have conducted a short interview with Keith Hayes, who is a retired dentist and currently runs a business called RightPath4 which advises dental practices on CQC inspections. Keith is a keen user of GDPUK and incredibly passionate about dentistry in the UK. We hope you enjoy reading some of his thoughts and ideas for UK Dentistry.
JJ:Please give us a brief background to your dental career?
KH:I’m celebrating a joint 120th birthday party with my dear wife and RightPath4 partner in crime in exactly one month. I qualified from the Royal London Hospital, fount of all knowledge in 1977.
I returned to teach undergrads part time as well as joining a partnership in a mixed practice for 25 years; selling to a small Corporate in 2000.
I then started a private squat in a village setting and built the practice quickly to be three dentists and two hygienists working 6 days a week. Unfortunately I needed to take early retirement owing to an arthritic problem and this showed me that retirement was never going to be a suitable option for me!
I have also been Clinical Director for a small Corporate as well as a compliance organisation. I have started an MSc Healthcare Management and Governance and my dissertation topic is ‘Efficacy and the CQC, on the right path?’
I am still a dental registrant, paying my indemnity as I believe I can’t advise others unless I too sometimes share the pain and disappointment we feel at the hands of those who claim to be our elders. Fortunately I still feel that Dentistry was exactly the right career choice for me.
JJ:How did you end up becoming so involved with all things CQC?
KH:Since 2009, I have become interested in how we are regulated in dentistry. Around the same time I began posting on GDPUK.
Probably as a result of my articles and occasional outspoken postings; I was invited to work with the CQC by the National Dental Adviser and enjoyed immensely being able to add my thoughts on dental regulation as well as making my suggestions for appointing dental bank expert advisers and then carrying out a great many dental practice inspections. Dental practice inspection is stressful not only for those on the receiving end and it’s extremely important that inspectors are calibrated and proportionate with their judgements. I believe that the new round of inspections starting in April will make significant improvements and will also allow practices to feel they have been endorsed by passing a more focused inspection rather than admonished by a less relevant generic one.
JJ:How long have you used GDPUK? What do you enjoy about using it?
KH:I’ve been a member since 2008 and that means I have averaged making almost two postings per day! I think this demonstrates how useful I have found being able to be an active member of a professional group. Too often, especially now days with so many pressures heaped upon the dentist, it is all too easy to think you are alone or unique with these problems. I have often been helped in a practical way to come up with a solution to a dilemma and I hope I have managed to help a few colleagues with theirs. From the size of my daily email inbox; I think we can say that there are a lot more lurkers than posters on GDPUK.
Whenever I am invited to speak at a meeting, I always take a straw poll of GDPUK er’s in the audience. It surprises me still that there are many out there who have yet to tap into this fantastic resource, probably the best we have by far.
JJ:As an advertiser on the site, have you found the site a good place to gain business and credibility?
KH:Well it’s always the first site I would go to when considering advertising my product. Not only do I seem to have a great response, but I find the quality of the inquiry is often at a higher level of understanding than other sources. It really is easier to help someone who knows what they are looking for.
I got a stunningly informative and significant response to my CQC Efficacy survey (nearly 200 replies) and the CQC are listening to what we have said.
At dental exhibitions, it never ceases to amaze and thrill me at the numbers of colleagues who tell me they follow my postings and are then encouraged to ask me their questions. I retired (I thought) a little while back, but I can tell you that I have never felt as involved in dentistry than I am now; much of the credit for this goes to GDPUK, thank you.
JJ:What changes do you expect to see in the CQC over the next few months? and also moving forward over the next decade?
KH:I think they are concentrating on the new changes they have made in the inspection process and will be surveying all practices to provide feedback following on from a visit. I personally think their survey is too long (9 pages) and should not be mandatory with identification as this may stifle any true opinions. The CQC have asked me to repeat my survey later in the year and I hope this will give a true reflection of their performance.
I am hopeful that John Milne will bring greater understanding of dentistry to the CQC and I still hope that I will be allowed to contribute my sixpenneth.
All providers of health services require regulation and yet it must be sensible, appropriate and fairly applied. I believe the CQC started with a very broad and ill-defined mandate; have listened and focused more clearly on the nuances of dental practice. They now need to carry the profession with them by demonstrating that when businesses make sensible improvements and work with clearly defined systems and an open and positive team culture, they become better businesses not only for the owners but also the patients and staff. If the CQC can use more carrot and less threat of stick, we may yet see real benefits over the next ten years. There is always a risk however that the CQC is used by some people for their own agenda; I hope this will not continue.
JJ:What are your predictions for UK dentistry over the next 5 years?
KH: Wow, crystal ball time!
I hoped that we were about to have an honest debate about what we can and what we can’t afford to provide in the NHS. Sadly it seems that all politicians of whatever creed will want to dance around their handbags for fear of being attacked by daring to suggest that the NHS is something less than perfect. This is of course a terrible lost opportunity to design a high quality core system which allows the profession to discuss all options and encourage patients to take responsibility for their chosen path. If we could allow the profession to deliver all that we are capable of without these artificial barriers of NHS vs Private, then I believe UK dentistry would indeed become world class.
At the present time, if I were 30 years younger, I would be looking to enhance my skills and use them in my own private practice. I believe that we may have to allow the Corporates to take on most NHS dentistry and to dramatically shift the skilling mix to allow the most cost effective person to provide each aspect of care.
JJ:Which three people from the world of dentistry would you invite round to your house for a dental dinner party?
KH:I’m afraid that at the moment I don’t have names for two of my dinner guests as I would want to invite the new CDO as a person who has current wet fingered experience of actually delivering the expected standards required by the GDC and the CQC and who is also co-opted into a senior position on the GDC executive.
My second guest would be the new CEO of the GDC, who would also be a dental registrant of course and in a much better position to both put patients first and understand how dental teams can be expected to deliver. I could not invite someone who has little relevant understanding of operating a dental practice as I fear they would be uncomfortable guests.
My third guest would be the Secretary of State for Health, although I suspect I may need to draw up another place name in the near future!
The theme for the evening would be a murder mystery; ‘Who was most responsible for murdering NHS Dentistry?’
JJ: Thanks Keith
For further information on Right Path 4 and how they can help your dental practice please check out www.rightpath4.com