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Hessle West Open Gardens

Another successful Hessle West Open Gardens again this year. Predictions are that the events will have put over £100,000 into charities over the past 25 years!

Being the 25th anniversary of the Open Gardens in this area, we were asked to do somehting a little different, particularly as Hull is UK City of Culture 2017. So, we were asked to put on a display with Roots and Routes, one of the seasons of City of Culture as a theme.

Well, you know us. Four Olympic specification lamps containing a flame lit in 1948, that burns in just one other place on earth and the story of the wholesale slaughter of the Hull Pals on May 3rd, 1917 at Oppy Wood, France. Yes, we led the commemorations in Oppy.

We WILL remember them.

Never miss an opportunity to be kind

Katie and I had the good fortune to be able help a chap who was in difficulty outside the practice this morning. Right place, right time. But, we do seem to make a habit of it.

We wish him well and hope things are better very soon.



I've been a bit quiet on the Blog for a while. It's been a funny year, with unsubtle attempts to take over our practice and then to poach our patients. The mutual camaraderie that we have with our patients has been really obvious over the past few months, as we fought off glaring attempts to kill us off. But, we're still here and growing again!

I don't think I've ever been hugged so much!

Mercury Free Dentistry!

Mercury Free Dentistry!

We've declared the practice an amalgam free dental practice today. We'd been whittling away at the number of old fashioned metal fillings being placed and it's now got to the stage where it isn't worth the hassle of having the infrastructure for the odd one that was being done! One amalgam every two to three months really isn't worth the palaver!

Quite a watershed.

Mental Capacity Act 2005

Just thought I'd add an information page to our website about the Mental Capacity Act 2005. I put together a training package a while back and it's a pity for it not to be available to other people who may need it!

Happy New Year!

Well, 2014 was a busy year. Let's see how 2015 goes. Exactly 15 years since we relocated to the Lodge and nearly 27 years since we were established. Time flies!

Time to hit the ground running tomorrow morning - early night tonight!


A hundred years from the start of the Great War. The war to end all wars. Sadly, it proved not to be the case. Indeed, it is often argued that the seeds of the Second World War were sown immediately after the end of the Great War with the financial settlement forced on the German nation.

We need to learn from history, but we don't. As history repeats itself, we see the appalling situations in Gaza and the Ukraine. Repressed people inevitably find a way to fight for their Freedom. That fight is often unorthodox in fashion. It is sometimes defined as terrorism by Governments, but state sponsored violence against others creates a cycle of violence that takes bravery to break. Bravery to shout "enough".


The Freedom Flame, Hull

How busy can life be? I'm part of the Committee that brought the Freedom Flame into Hull in May this year and it's all gone a bit mad. The problem with having a big skill set is that people use it!

Well here's the product of our labours to start with, and from here ... watch this space!
Here are Veterans, from left Ray Lord, (D Day second wave onto Sword Beach), John Ainsworth (D +7 onto Juno Beach) and Nick Rumble (D Day, offshore on a Defensively Equipped Merchant Ship) with the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu and the verger of Holy Trinity Church, Hull. They're holding a Torch plus lamps containing a flame from the Dutch Freedom Flame in Wageningen. The Archbishop has just blessed the Flame.

Hessle West Open Gardens 2014

It's been Hessle West Open Gardens today. I'll admit I'm worn out but we have raised a significant sum for charity today. And it was up on last year! My better half has just pointed out that I didn't take a single photograph today even though I had my camera with me. Well I have been a bit busy!

The Freedom Flame, Hull

The Freedom Flame, otherwise known as the Montgomery Flame came to Hull on May 8th. The event was rather hurriedly put together, mostly by Mike, our Practice Manager!

Anyway, watch out for developments over the next three years with the Freedom Flame, as we run up to Hull City of Culture 2017 amongst other events. There's a major event booked for the 70th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden (The Bridge Too Far) involving the Flame travelling around the former bomber command air bases of Lincolnshire - and then there's the Freedom Festival in September too!

As for this week - the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu will bless the Flame in Holy Trinity Church, Hull at 2:45pm on Friday 16th May. All Welcome!!


Upgrade for our patient free WiFi ordered - and now I want it be be delivered tomorrow morning. It feels like Christmas! Ironically I got my Santa suit back from dry cleaning today.

The Freedom Flame

Will it come off? Who knows?

I've been charged with assisting to bring the Freiheit to Hull! I need to explain! Every year this is taken to the Netherlands from Bayeux in Normandy, for the celebration of the unification and liberation of Holland in May 1945. So, on the 4th of May ceremonies are held all over the Netherlands to commemorate the dead and then, on the 5th, the liberation is celebrated. The Freiheit is distributed by teams all over the Netherlands as part of the celebration.

And Hull Normandy Veterans Association have been asked to bring it back to Hull. Logistical nightmare - so here we go!

Free Wifi

Choices choices!

Time to upgrade our Free Wifi. But who to choose as a provider? At the moment it's looking like Polkaspots. I'll let it a brew for a couple of days I reckon. And then we'll be set up for seriously quick internet access for patients.



Well upgrading a computer went well today and yesterday. That leaves me with a redundant PC. The thing is that I've found a really good way to deal with it. I strip the hard drive out of PCs we want to dispose of and the dismantle the drive to get to the disc and then smash it up - no more data! How many times do old PCs turn up with sensitive data on them?

And then to best bit - I use a website called Freegle. It's a site that puts people who want to give things away in touch with people who want stuff. Admitted some of it is people being cheeky - such as giving away a load of rubble instead of renting a skip! But in the last month I've given two old but perfectly good PCs (minus hard drives) to someone who builds PCs for the less fortunate.

It makes so much sense.


Is a dental practice just a place to have your mouth maintained or is it an entity that should be an integral part of the community?

We've had a sad couple of weeks as we've lost two of our very long standing patients. I was at one funeral on Thursday and have the other one today. It struck me during last week's commemoration that I'd known Pat and her family for 25 years. We'd shared the good times and the bad but we'd laughed together through all of it. Her funeral was a superb send off with real depth of humanity. Rest in Peace Pat. I just hope we can achieve something as nice for Paul today

Finger guards for doors

It never ceases to amaze me how much activity there can be in the background of a dental practice. Some of it you'd never dream of! One of the past week's projects has been to replace our door finger guards. They'd been up about ten years and some were starting to wear, so they've all been replaced at one go.

So, if you would like some used, but perfectly good, finger guards give the practice a ring - free to good home! And there's quite a few of them.

Happy New Year!

A Happy New Year 2014 from all of us here at Hesslewood Lodge!

Hull City of Culture 2017

The question is - did Hull adopt me, or did I adopt Hull?

I'm not entirely sure. I first came to Hull in 1984 and it was a bit run down. I lived alone for my first year, so I walked the streets at night with my camera and photographed some fascinating places. I witnessed how Hull had the soul ripped out of it for the second time because of the destruction of the fishing industry - the first time was wholesale destruction by the Luftwaffe in WWII.

And I've seen Hull battle back against the odds. The odds usually being in the form of continuous battering from journalists who have never been to Hull. These people generate survey after survey claiming that Hull is the worst place on earth. Have they ever been to Brentford? Or Hounslow? Or even Nottingham? I have. And there's no damned way I'd live in any of them. Hull falls down time and again because of an anomaly that politically separates the affluent suburbs from the centre. This distorts statistics and gives the wrong impression, giving these pundits a lazy target.

So Congratulations Hull. It's about time


I do like the trees on Woodfield Lane and Heads Lane in the Autumn!


An interesting few days. If you look at our practice Facebook page, you'll understand what I mean. Defending the corner of war veterans at the Remembrance Service in Hull. I've been accused of attempts at commercial gain - anyone who knows me will know that's out of the question. And tonight I've received an abusive e-mail accusing me of bullying. You defend one underdog and you irritate someone else.

Such is life I suppose.

It's gone viral

Well that was an eventful 24 hours! Anyone that knows me is aware that if there's a just cause, I'll fight it. I'll defend the underdog and fight for his her rights. Always have, always will.

So when the Mercure Hotel in Hull made a hash of their input for Remembrance Sunday yesterday, I passwd comment. I posted a copy of the letter on their Facebook page and our prcatice Facebook page and then watched as it went viral! We're up to nearly 68,000 hits at the moment. So I've been a bit busy!

Remembrance Sunday

One of the most poignant times of the year for me as I'm an honorary member of the Normandy Veterans Association. One of life's greatest honours, to be granted this accolade just for mucking in and helping out.

Job for tomorrow, supporting the veterans at Hull Cenotaph for Remembrance Sunday. Things may get interesting - last year the local Councillors peeled off into a room in the Mercure Royal Station Hotel for a free cup of tea and the veterans were excluded - expected to buy their own tea! Not this year - I'm going to usher them straight in and if there's a scene, then there'll be some very embarrassed people!


Sitting in the waiting room this week revising policies, not particularly interesting. But bantering with patients we've known 25 years has been great fun. I have to say I've felt sorry for Angie on reception. It's all been a bit of a riot!

All dental waiting rooms should be fun, not stressful.

Policy update time!

It's been a funny couple of months.

Ever since I was asked to lecture at York College, my life has been busier than I've ever known it. But it's half term!

It'll be good to get a full week in the practice and just potter away at the jobs that are not particularly interesting, but do need doing. For instance, it's policy update time - rivetting!

Fun in lectures

Who'd have thought a three hour lecture on root canal therapy could be fun? Well we managed it last night! Nice to do this at the end of a long day's lecturing and get the response I got. Mind you if you're going to do lecturing you've got to bring real life into it wherever you can. Otherwise it's drivel!

Can't wait to do oral cancer with them. I'll open their eyes sooo wide!

Fourteen Stone in a day!

How time flies. I don't know how on earth I fit life in at the moment. It's hard enough getting a haircut!

I must have ended up in a unique position, with a role lecturing in Anatomy and Physiology in York as well as running the practice. The lecturing is fascinating though, because of my mileage as a practitioner. The sheer volume and diversity of care I've seen has given me insights that the vast majority of College lecturers will never see, so yesterday's lecture about nervous system covered all sorts of ground. We covered everything from Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus to Multiple Sclerosis and epidurals! Well they don't want to just it and listen about nerve cells, do they? I certainly wouldn't.

Job for the afternoon - lipids! (That's fat to you and me). Ironically I've lost ten pounds in two weeks through sheer volume of work! It feels like Peter Kay's "fourteen stone in a day" sketch!

16 hour days

Gone midnight and just finished working - then it'll be up at six for work. 16 hour days - am I mad?

York College

A busy life!

I don't think I've ever been so busy! Since starting as an Anatomy and Physiology lecturer at York College, life has been full tilt! Have to say it amazes me how much I can recall from memory, and how much comes straight back with a bit of a read.

And nought to proficient in PowerPoint in a week!

Great British Bake Off

Why do people choose to go on TV and get pulled apart? I'm sitting watching The Great British Bake Off and I'm just amazed that people would choose to put themselves through all the trauma - and one of the contestants is a dentist! Surely she gets enough stress at work!

Humbling. Very Humbling

What a fascinating week - if you follow this blog, you'll see I am heavily involved with Hull Normandy Veterans Association.

This last week I've been to the National Archives in Kew with two of our few remaining veterans. The aim was to help fill in gaps in their war histories. It's apparent that there's utter frustration on their parts that they just don't know where they were or what they were involved in.

Ray was an infantryman in the 2nd East Yorks. He landed just 60 minutes after the first troops hit Sword Beach on D Day and fought his way with the Regiment all the way through to the end of the war. And then the sent him to Palestine! He was in the attack on Chateau de la Londe, north of Caen. This became known as the bloodiest square mile in Normandy. Later, he'd been badly wounded by a mortar bomb that should have killed him but he was lucky that a radio set was between him and the explosion and it took most of the impact. He wanted to know more about where he was sent back to when he rejoined the action after 10 weeks treatment. And he keeps insisting he was "an ordinary infantryman"!

And John was an Artillery spotter with the 10th Survey Regiment of the Royal Artillery. His job was to spot artillery being fired by the enemy and take a bearing and range. Coordinated with other units, the guns could be located and destroyed, often by rocket firing Spitfires. He'd been involved in hunting down V1 flying bombs and then at the end of the war, he was involved in an operation about V2 rockets in Denmark - but he had no idea what the operation was!

It's been a joy to find things out for John. The operation was something called Operation Backfire and was about reassembling some V2 rockets from parts and test firing them from Cuxhaven over the North Sea to see how they flew. John's job was tracing their flight (not that he knew at the time!). We even managed to hunt down the original secret documentation (now declassified) for the operation! We've even managed to find a flour mill he'd been positioned on top of in 1944 in a Belgian town called Boom! He's stunned that after nearly 70 years we've unravelled his war history in a matter of days. There can be no greater joy than doing this for a 93 year old war veteran.

Humbling. Very Humbling

I'm back!

I knew it'd been a while since I blogged, but I hadn't worked out how long until my ever critical daughter pointed it out!

So here goes! Sooo much has happened. It's been a great summer for sport - Hull City have had a tweak in their name to Hull City Tigers. We happen to know the people who made the change very well, and it all makes sense when you listen to the logic.

I've been doing a teacher training course (just waiting for the results) and the practice rolls along nicely.

Right, that's enough for tonight. More soon.

BTW - I'm taking two of Hull's Normandy Veterans to the National Archives in Kew tomorrow. The road trip of a lifetime when you're 93. Tracing your war history. Pass the hankies.

Hull Normandy Veterans Association visit Holland

Well that was a busy couple of weeks!

I've been to Holland with Hull Normandy Veterans - you may have seen us on Look North! I was fascinated to watch the BBC reporter who was with us, as she transformed from someone who knew nothing about World War II to someone who struggled not to cry as the last post was played at a wreath laying at Jonkerbos cemetery in Nijmegen. The absolutely no shame in showing emotion in a situation like this - it's completely human. Tarah, and John her cameraman, were lovely people. They worked until all sorts of hours and produced something that was really profound. So much so it was shown over three nights!

Here are the last of the veterans in Holland

Hull Normandy Veterans Association pilgrimage

Wheelchairs and wreaths delivered to East Yorkshire buses depot on Anlaby Road today. Pilgrimage to Arnhem for Hull Normandy Veterans Association sets out on Friday night and I'm going as "carer". I can feel a profound time coming on.

Arabic flash cards

A busy day! As well as routine checks such as health and safety, and legionella I've been tweaking documents and systems. It makes me wonder how dental practice's ever functioned without some of the rubbish we have to wade through nowadays. Particularly when the Care Quality Commission think that dental practices are actually doing very well, thank you.

Job for this evening - set up some Arabic flash cards in case we have difficulty communicating with our Saudi clientele. Well, when I say evening, it's going to take far longer than that!

All in a day's work

Monday morning.

Practice Monday checklists done. Legionella checks done. Now let's see if we can finally get the new dental uniforms project finished. We'd ordered a large batch of new uniforms and only part arrived. To say it's been a farce is an understatement.
And then later - clinical waste. Do we change provider? We'll see what the Rep says who's coming to see me this afternoon.

Hull NVA go to Arnhem

It's funny how life slows down and then speeds up without reason.You go through a bit of a lull and then all hell breaks loose! It's going to be one of those weeks next week. I'm taking Hull Normandy Veterans Association on a pilgrimage to Arnhem at the end of the week. I go as a sort of carer who pays to go on the tours and help out at the same time! This tour is a celebration of the liberation of Holland in WWII and involves a 4km "march" including period vehicles. And my job on that day will be pushing a wheelchair for the 4km while making sure everybody's okay (and photographing everything!).

I'm also currently doing teacher training at York College, so I'll have to fit the training in (including my homework) and get organised for the tour - alongside running the practice! The tricky bit'll be having to collect a load of wheelchairs and ship the
m to EYMS Anlaby Road depot. Good job they open until late!

And I'm tiling a loo for my son at the same time! Who said men can't multitask?

A waste of time and resources

Don't you just love rewriting policies? Especially when it's because someone in an Ivory Tower didn't do their job properly in the first place!

The whole of general dental practice was saying something to the effect of "this is a load of rubbish" when HTM01-05 was released in 2009. We were given a use by date for instruments sterilised in bags of 60 days, as opposed to the hospital deadline of a year. And then, in 2013 they've changed this to a year and they've owned up to this in the term "not helpful". Absolutely true.

There'll have been millions of pounds and countless man hours wasted because somebody didn't use common sense in 2009. I wonder if a Freedom of Information Act request would flush them out?


About time - HTM01-05 change!

About time!

When we started with the hew Government edict about sterilisation of instruments, called HTM01-05, some of it seemed rather bizarre. If we're honest some of it IS actually rather bizarre. One of the requirements has been that we can only store instruments sterilised in a bag for 60 days. Whereas hospitals could store for a year! Why the difference? God alone knows as there's no science to support the position. Or to put it another way, it's not Evidence Based, which it is supposed to be.

Then today I've had notification that the situation has been rationalised - we're up to a year. Well about time! The time and effort involved in sterilising stuff over and over again, just for the sake of it has been onerous.

Well established dental practices in Hull

Well I have to say that making the covers for the new Practice Information CDs was more complex than I remember from last time! The hard part seemed to be grafting in the logo about our 25th Anniversary as a practice. I suppose that makes us one of the more "well established" dental practices in Hull. Well before the advent of Corporate giants.

So all the Practice Information has been updated. Mmmm - what next? Shame it's not sunny, I could have updated our photographs. The practice looks rather good at the moment with our daffodils in flower!

Britney Spears

I spent yesterday afternoon recording a new version of our practice information. I burn it to CD so that anyone who is visually impaired, or has difficulty reading can simply listen to it.

The problem comes when you have a daughter who's home from University and decides to "take the Mickey" while you're doing it! Apparently I sound like an air hostess! And your exits are here, here and here .......

Hopefully I don't sound like the bloke who does the announcements in Sainsburys in Hessle. We nicknamed him Britney a while ago because he wears a head mounted microphone and sounds ever so sultry when he announces that bread has been reduced to ten pence!


Hull City v Bristol City

There's a simmering excitement brewing in Hull. Hull City may just make it back into the Premiership!

And we've been invited as a Practice to Hull City v Bristol City on Friday! Can we get so lucky that they get promoted on Friday night?

Good fun

Good fun these last couple of mornings with patients. Reminiscing over our last 25 years as a practice and some of the fun we've had together. We've had patients in from our very first day and the weeks soon after and we've shared a lot of good times! Dentistry is about delivering something that's sometimes not very nice, but doing it in a way that is as nice as possible!

Our silver anniversary!

It's our silver anniversary!

25 years since we started all those years ago in Anlaby. I dug out our first ever diary this afternoon and was pleased to find that 8 of the 23 patients we had in on our first day are still patients. We've been through easy and hard times together. We've seen patients born and patients die. Indeed I have two funerals over the next week for patients who've passed away. We've had the honour of following a generation of young people from their early years to adulthood. And we've seen a second generation born and growing.

I've seen my own career through untold hours of work to establish a practice. I've worked countless hours, often under extreme pressure, often turning out at all kinds of hours to help people who were in need. I've seen my career grow, peak and then finish suddenly in 2010 with spinal surgery. If I'm honest, it was devastating, but the job would have killed me, I'm sure.

But through all this has been the constant of patients who have been great people to know and staff who have been likewise. I've had the privilege of knowing and training some superb dental nurses, not least of all Leanne, who joined us nigh on 22 years ago, without whom I'm sure I would have cracked years ago. And then there's Sue Pindar, one of our exceptional hygienists who has been with us as long as Leanne. And Emma Lewis, our other hygienist, who somehow manages to bring up three small kids while being exceptional. I'm privileged to have worked alongside some of the most amazing people. And for that I'm eternally grateful.

I have had the ultimate honour of nurturing Chris Ziaras to become the dentist he now is, and he really is something exceptional, both in talent and in ethic. He's my kind of practitioner. He's talented and simultaneously cares a great deal. We've been blessed with the presence of Stuart Graham in the practice, to give us a rock solid stability based on nigh on 30 years as a practitioner and, with him, the craft of implantology.

So the practice ploughs into the future. It's gone through a solid 25 years and here's to the next 25! A great team of people going places.

CQC registration of GP practices

So much for me thinking that Spring was here! I ended up driving high up into the Pennines to help my ill sister late on Saturday night. The beauty of being brought up on the Pennines is a lack of fear of driving in snow. So I borrowed my daughter's little Fiat and off I went. Sheet ice - no problem. Packed snow on hills - no problem. Who needs a 4x4 when you have a lightweight, low power, front wheel drive car with decent tyres?

Shame my sister's GP had let her down. Ah well. That'll get sorted tomorrow.


And Saturday night summed up why the Care Quality Commission are registering GP practices.

Is Spring sprung?

Is Spring sprung? Will it ever arrive? Will we ever be able to sit outside again in a tee shirt? Or is this climate change?

Or if we're honest,  are we just fed up of Winter and want to get a life again?

NHS whistleblowers

It's good to see that the Government have finally decided to allow NHS whistleblowers to actually crawl out of the woodwork. I hear this morning there's 400 of them. Whatever! There'll be so many more, so why not get everyone who's been gagged to come forward? There'll be patterns. Patterns of overly aggressive management at some sites who have covered their backs by using these orders. If the Government are going to do it, they should do it properly.

The Hand of God

Where've you been, I hear you say?

Experimenting with Search Engine Optimisation! The theory is that a blog helps to drive a website's hits, so I thought I'd give it a rest and see what happens. I reckon the theory is correct. Google seem to shift the actual search terms they find according to what I blog. So curiosity solved.

Anyway! We have a new Pope! And he's Argentinian, so he's not the first to have "the hand of God!'. Sorry about that. Couldn't resist a Maradona joke.

Recycling in dentistry

It never ceases to amaze me how much administration there is in the background of a dental practice. There's always something to do!

Even getting a dead tree down in our car park involved contacting East Yorkshire council and getting written permission. It's down now, tidy and we have piles of logs in the undergrowth of our site for wildlife to colonise. There's little point in disposing of it if it can be recycled on site.

Greek night at Lazaat's

We had a great night on Friday night. Greek night at Lazaat's, Cottingham.  It was organised by Simon, one of Chris Ziaras's friends and I have to say he'd done a brilliant job. Cracking food, great company and plenty of Greek dancing. And not forgetting ..... plate smashing! Yes, you can smash one on your head!

All in all a great night and something that Hull could do with more often. Well done, Simon!

Nuclear Bomb explodes in Queen's Gardens, Hull

I've been rooting tonight in my collection of local history resources about Hull. I've been looking for anything that might help one of our dental patients who's writing an essay about crossing the Humber over the centuries and the construction of the Humber Bridge. I'm pleased to say I found quite a bit of stuff, from maps to detailed history of the Hessle area and the Southfield conservation area.

But what pleased me most was coming across something I'd forgotten I owned - a 50 pence booklet from around the late 1970s or early 1980s entitled "Hull and the Bomb" - a description of what to expect in case of nuclear war!

So the central spread - "The Effects of a One Megaton Groundburst Nuclear Bomb on Queen's Gardens in the City of Hull" is an eye opener. And I quote - "Total probable casualties. 262,000 out of the City's population of 268,000 could be killed or injured". And so on..... Maybe we need to deal with North Korea before things get out of hand.

I must take this in for Chris Ziaras to read tomorrow. I reckon he'll find it fascinating.


A bit lax

I've been a bit lax with blogging this week. Got a bit bogged in on writing Mental Capacity Act training for dental staff and lost a week of my life!

Leanne and I (and our other halves) have had the honour of being invited to watch Hull City with hospitality provided by the Chairman, and I have to say we both feel very honoured. And with City fighting up the table under the stewardship of Steve Bruce, the timing is superb. Quite excited!

We've tree surgeons in tomorrow to deal with a tree that died in one corner of our site at the practice and they're going to chop up the timber into lengths to stack and leave in a pile for the wildlife in the garden. So we lose a tree but gain a wildlife habitat. And we'll replant later with a broad leafed tree, probably a beech, to add to the practice's green environment.


Do I spend my whole life in B&Q? .... Not quite!

I've spent today making a presentation for our dental staff about the Mental Capacity Act 2005. I got it almost finished and then got sidetracked this evening
by plastering a wall! (After the obligatory trip to B&Q!) Well, you have to, don't you?

If I'm honest, we've had a really nice day. Nice people all day, having nice things done. Marvellous.

NHS whistleblowing scandal

I'm amazed that the NHS whistleblower scandal is being dealt with so badly.

I's so obvious to me how to solve the problem. The Minister for Health, Jeremy Hunt needs to go public and ask anyone who has had a gagging order forced on them to contact him. Surely, if they talk directly to him then Parliamentary Privilege will cover his communication with them. The whole point on these gagging orders is to try to cover up, to paper over the cracks. And I would guess that there's a pattern. There'll be pockets of these orders centred around managers who are desperate to protect their own position. They need outing - and they need outing soon.

So why doesn't he do this? Either he hasn't made the leap of imagination it takes to think of it. Or he knows there'll be a terrifying number of these orders out there and it'll be a national disgrace. I know which one I think it is.

Tree surgeons in Hessle

So did you do on Valentine's Day? I entertained a couple of tree surgeons at the practice! Well, when I say entertained, I mean we worked out a plan for maintenance of the trees on our site. Sadly, we had a tree die last year, so they've been in contact with the East Riding planners to authorise cutting it down.

But all is not lost! The tree will be cut into logs and stacked in the undergrowth to
be allowed to rot down slowly, giving a great place for wildlife to take hold and hibernate in years to come. Very sustainable!
Project for Spring is to assess our giant Beeches as they come into leaf. They do appear healthy but there's no substitute for an expert eye!

If you need a tree surgeon, give me a ring!


I've been in London for a couple of days seeing my daughter. I'm both pleased and proud to say she went for an interview and was offered a post just from her CV! Good kid!

What was particularly satisfying was that the post was exactly what I'd hope my kids would do in life. She's doing a Masters in Business with Sustainability - otherwise known as Social Responsibility, so this is a volunteering post working out how to stop the big supermarkets robbing farmers blind. Like I say, Good Kid!

Yorkshire Cancer Research

We had a good night last night at the Yorkshire Cancer Research hosted charity ball at Lazaat Hotel between Beverley and Cottingham.

Great band called Black Velvet - good to see proper live music being performed by people who do it for all the right reasons. I was chatting with a lady called Pam Cavanagh, who'd done a lot of the organising and she was pleased to tell me that the band had performed for next to nothing as the do was for Cancer Research. Brilliant. And the do made £4600 for the Yorkshire Cancer Research fund.

Information Governance Audit in Dentistry

Audit, audit, audit! We were doing Information Governance audit this morning. One of life's great joys - doing statistical analysis of data from audit! When you're laid there, having your teeth drilled, you'd never dream of all the things that go on behind the scenes in a dental practice!

X Rays and Radiation training for dental nurses

Radiation training for dental nurses - otherwise known as how to make your brain hurt!

I've spent the afternoon compiling a PowerPoint on X Rays and Radiation for dental nurses. If I'm honest, it's going very well (28 slides so far with embedded hyperlinks to various bits of video and photographs) but it's such a huge subject that every time you add a slide, it generates a couple more!

And dental nurses have a different take on Radiation Protection than dentists. The nitty gritty of getting a good image is mostly the dentist's problem, but a dental nurse needs to know exactly what the dentist is doing so that the right kit can be got out. And then it's over to the dental nurse to process the image, making sure that the Quality Assurance is good, so that it drops nicely into Clinical Audit.

I have to say that I'm aghast at how low the bar is set for acceptable films. A half decent dentist should be getting good films almost every time.

Hessle Town Council planning

How on earth did all that fit into today? I started off doing routine paperwork and safety checks at the practice, then had to go out to Hull Normandy Veterans monthly meeting. Being a muppet, I'd completely forgotten that we had CPR and defibrillator training all afternoon! So it was a very quick turnaround and back to the practice for three hours training.

I dived home, shovelled own my tea (Up North, it's tea, not dinner!) and then set off to Hessle Town Council for a planning meeting. I've been trying to get action about the junction of Heads Lane and Woodfield Lane with Ferriby Road outside the practice. It's an increasing problem and the crashes are getting more common and more serious all the time.

I've been sporadically trying to create change for a year now, but the inertia from East Riding Council highways department and one of the local councillors has been astonishing. I refuse to stand back and watch someone die on this junction, so I showed them video (from our CCTV) of three accidents and a near miss. Apart from one councillor who tried to shut me up - rude man, they appeared receptive. But, having had previous contact with one councillor who made all the right noises, I felt the need to leave them with a veiled threat - sort it, or I'll name and shame if someone gets killed on the junction.

We'll see - but we WILL create change. Whether they like it or not.

(I did worry about a comment from one councillor, whose business partner lives on the corner of the £1.5 million rework of the Boothferry Road, Heads Lane junction - I do hope he didn't vote on, or have any influence whatsoever over any of the decisions to pass that work)

Richard III found under a car park in Leicester!

How utterly brilliant is it that they've found Richard III? After over 500 years, a chunk of which he's been languishing under a car park! But, for me, the genius is tracing his family line and coming across somebody (who probably didn't know their heritage), who they could take DNA from, and then prove "beyond all reasonable doubt" that the skeleton is his!

Utterly Brilliant

Humber St Andrews Club, Anlaby Road

A weekend of helping and teaching my son the ancient art of DIY - topped off with an evening constructing radiation protection training.

All set up for Tuesday's Hull Normandy Veterans Association meeting - next trip is to Arnhem in May, so that'll be on the agenda. All welcome. If you're interested come along - Humber St Andrews Club, Anlaby Road (Opposite Albert Avenue) at 1pm for 1:30pm

Family visits

Friday  - and Chris Ziaras has his sister over from Athens to Hull this week. It'll be good to meet her. If she's a fraction of the person that Chris is, she'll be a very decent sort.

Special Needs Dentistry

I never understand why "special needs" dental patients are regarded as having "special needs".

Our practice has had such a diversity of patients with "special needs" today, that the patients who didn't have "special needs" seemed to be in the minority. And then it's not "special". Patients with complex medical histories and current medical and dental needs are so common that the term "special" loses its meaning.

And why should a dental patient be packed off to another place because their treatment is difficult? Because the practitioner doesn't have the skills? Or because it takes extra time and therefore money to perform the same tasks. The first point should be covered by training and the second is about attitude.

I distinctly remember having a Disability Discrimination Act audit and saying to the Auditor (a mid qualification architect) that most of this is about attitude. And the physical environment is often used as an excuse not to treat people with disabilities.

So do we discriminate against dental patients by labelling them "special"? Or should we treat as many as possible in General Dental Practice? We're more than capable of integrating dental treatment with treatment for strokes, cancer, multiple sclerosis. And likewise learning difficulties such as autism.


If you're going to do it, do it with a Passion.

It's 40 years this week since "that" try in the Barbarians v New Zealand Rugby Union match. "That" try was, quite possibly, the best try of all time, starting with Phil Bennett and finishing with Gareth Edwards scoring the try. But in the middle of it all was a man called JPR Williams. JPR was no ordinary man. He wore his sideburns long and his socks rolled down. To quote one of his former team mates he "roamed the pitch like a wounded Bison" with total disregard for his own safety but with utter commitment. JPR was a medic - actually an orthopaedic surgeon, and by his own admission spent half his life breaking bones and half repairing them!

You may gather that JPR was one of my childhood heroes (him, and John Noakes of Blue Peter fame). He was utterly fearless, had immense foresight in play and would never play defensively, but would attack and attack, despite playing full back.

The World needs people like JPR Williams. People with complete devotion to the cause. People who, irrespective of the carnage going on around them, carry on. People who seem to be oblivious to the harm that they personally suffer for a greater good. People who put "the team" above themselves. Altruism? Possibly. Or unadulterated Passion for a cause. Hopefully that cause is for the good. When it is, these people can move mountains.

If you're going to do it, do it with a Passion.


That was a nice surprise!

Just opened the post to find a letter from Hull Normandy Veterans Association thanking me for all the help! Nice to be appreciated. Paricularly when they think that the Branch wouldn't have survived without the help.

I feel very humble.

Facial Aesthetics and Botox

It's good to see the Royal College of Sugeons coming out against Botox and non-surgical face treatments this morning. It's good to see that they say that only Medics, Dentists and appropriately qualifies nurses should be allowed to do it.

I'm going to go a step further though - many of the "qualifications" are a quick weekend run by a manufacturer. That's NOT a qualification, even for a Medic, Dentist or Nurse. And I've seen so many faces ruined by having so-called facial aesthetic treatment. (e.g Lip plumping often looks wrong because the lips become translucent and get Botox wrong and God help you!).

I'm conviced that the only people who should be doing Botox should be properly trained Plastic Surgeons and, of all people Dentists, because Dentists understand how faces work. Even then the Dentists performing the treatment should have to undertake lengthy training accredited by someone like the Royal College of Surgeons.

Dental Nurse course at York College

I had a fascinating afternoon at York College today. I'd been asked to go and discuss the future direction of their Dental Nurse course and spent two hours dissecting out what makes good Dental Nurses and how to get there via their training. All very interesting, so we'll see how it pans out.

Disinfected or Sterilised?

Audit! Does yer head in!

But it has to be done.

I spent this morning auditing our logs of "Disinfection and sterilisation of items entering and leaving the practice" - come on, wake up! Everything we receive or send out HAS to be decontaminated. When I say decontaminated, I mean either sterilised (that's sterilized, for you over The Pond) or disinfected. I remember many years ago treating a patient in a Psychiatric Hospital who has syphilis. Imagine sending impressions for dentures to a technician and not disinfecting them! I can imagine the spectacularly awkward conversation that would be had at their house, when the need to explain where you caught syphilis came up!

But what's the difference between disinfected and sterilised? We'll, sterilised is processed in a way as to kill all, bacteria, viruses, fungi and spores. Whereas, disinfected is when we reduce the numbers of these as far as possible, but we know we haven't killed absolutely everything. For some things, disinfected is enough - it takes a certain number of (for example) bacteria to set up an infection. If you can reduce the number below that critical point, even though there are a few left, it won't cause an infection.

There are some things that you just can't make completely sterile because you can't autoclave them, so they get disinfected.

And we all know the old joke about sterilising a Ram using two bricks - "Doesn't it hurt?".... "Not unless you get your thumbs in the way!"

How to make a spectacle lens!

What an interesting day! I went to the opticians at Bright Eyes, Percy Street, Hull first thing this morning, to have the left lens changed in my glasses. As I know them really well, I had the privilege of watching the whole process of making the lens. And how fascinating it was. From marking up the lens for the pupil centre, to actually grinding the lens blank to shape and then fitting to the frame. I'm sad enough to have photographed and videoed parts of the process, so that I can post it as a webpage!

I know it's got absolutely nothing to do with dentistry, but it was genuinely interesting! BUT, it actually does have something to do with dentistry. It struck me that the process was so rapid - ten minutes from start to finish - that it utterly contrasted with how long a denture takes to make - many hours!

SEO7k aggressive marketing

Don't you get sick of cold calls? I know I do. So much so that I registered the practice for the Corporate Telephone Preference Service. And still I get called.

Today's waste of time phone call was from someone claiming to be from a company called SEO7k in Manchester. He proceeded to tell me how bad our website is and that I should use them to improve our Google ratings - great selling technique! No matter how much I tried to tell him I wasn't interested, the more aggressively he tried to sell. And I really mean aggressively.

So when I eventually managed to get through to the man from SEO7k that I wasn't interested, I then went on the web to find out who on earth SEO7k are. And it was a bit of a struggle. They're not registered at Companies House, but I did find a recruiting ad spinning a yarn about how shiny they are as a company - not my experience. (£50 commission per sale and £10 if I accept a free trial). I also found that the person you had to ring for a job with SEO7k was a car salesman!

I suppose that I'm saying I'm really wary of a company who have recently opened
offices in Zambia but seem to hide where they are in the UK (Timperley in Altrincham). Particularly when the sales technique is so aggressive. The funny thing was that he claimed he could hardly find us on the Web - but I could hardly find them! And they claim to be the experts - and all the car leasing companies I know are Search Engine Optimisation experts - NOT.

Hull and East Riding Asian Cultural Association charity ball

Looks like I'm helping out at the Hull and East Riding Asian Cultural Association dinner dance on the 2nd of March. I helped run the raffle at the last fund raiser and we totalled £4000+ for charity and I've just beeb asked again - I'm very honoured!

I've volunteered to help set up in the morning to get the stage and music organised, so it'll be a busy day. I have to say that the ACA do is one of our absolute favourites. A black tie do with curry to eat - it really doesn't get much better!

Audio Images, Bradford

I've been to Bradford today. My wife's car has heated seats (She's skinny, so she needs them - I'm a bit chunky, so I don't!) and the driver's seat base had failed. The local dealer wanted close on a thousand quid to sort it out robbing beggars! So, I looked for someone who could fit an aftermarket pad in the base. And the only ones I could find were in Bradford.

I'm right impressed. Ridiculously nice people - so nice that I had problems getting away! That's payback for all the times I've talked someone half to death!

So the seat is sorted, Very neatly. And for the princely sum of ..... drum roll ....... £275! So, that was worth a day in Bradford.

And the company are - Audio Images. Audio Images (UK) Ltd 187 Westgate Bradford West Yorkshire BD1 3AD United Kingdom. Tel: 01274 733 633.

Pennine winters

Worst snow so far for winter 2012/2013, so I'm off to Bradford tomorrow! What's a bit of snow between friends? It's not 1963 again, you know!

I was brought up on the Pennines, so snow was normal!  I can't count the times I went to school as a lad and, having travelled seven miles to get there, I'd be sent home again after registration! The only trouble being that the seven miles back home in a blizzard would be on foot. Ah, but that meant seven miles worth of snowballing!

New builds in Hull

At last! The Hull Daily Mail are reporting that a couple of major building developments are ready to start rolling in Hull.

It's good to see that the River Hull basin development is finally going to get going. So we'll finally see the old Rank flour mills site redeveloped. And at least the new £6.6 million whale shaped footbridge will be going to somewhere as well!

On top of that, St Andrews Quay and the Lord Line building are to be developed as a student village, so that'll tidy up the run into Hull on Clive Sullivan Way. All we need now is for Siemens to finally sign up for the wind farm development, but I'm not optimistic on that one. How many times have Hull City Council made a dog's breakfast of the development process?

Proper snow

This snow is rubbish - can we have some proper snow please? You know the stuff, the type you can sledge on and build proper snowmen with.

What's wrong with society

A letter to the British Dental Journal. You know how some people just encapsulate life perfectly....

My non-job
J. R. Mackay1

Send your letters to the Editor, British Dental Journal, 64 Wimpole Street, London, W1G 8YS e-mail:
Priority will be given to letters less than 500 words long. Authors must sign the letter, which may be edited for reasons of space.
Readers may now comment on letters via the BDJ website ( A 'Readers' Comments' section appears at the end of the full text of each letter online.

Sir, reluctantly I have found that I now have two jobs. The first is a real job: providing dental services to my local community. If I do this job well I am a significant asset to that community. If you wanted to, you could assess how well I do this job by judging the quality of advice I give and technical quality of treatments provided. You might also wish to confirm that my cross-infection control measures are effective and applied with diligence.

My second job is what is commonly known as a non-job. That is one that involves many hours of mind numbingly dull work, producing reams of documentation that rarely if ever get read.

Several government bodies are now charged with assessing how good I am at my job. Inspectors from these various agencies are now appearing with monotonous regularity at my practice wanting to see my policies and risk assessments on this, that and the other. All of this is extremely time consuming as I am inevitably given more homework to do; such and such a policy has to be rewritten so as to be in the particular format that that inspector likes to see. Or, as a matter of urgency, training has to be undertaken on some peripheral or irrelevant topic.

The various inspectors' visits are inevitably preceded by a letter proclaiming particular agencies' commitment to driving up standards of dental care, yet none show any interest, whatsoever, in how well I do my real job. This is a shame because I'm much better at my real job than I am at my non-job.

My real job is full time, therefore to do my non-job I have to moonlight, which means to do it even to an average standard I have to give up most of my spare time. Like all people who do two jobs, and therefore spread themselves too thinly, there is a danger that I cannot do both well.

I recently had the opportunity to see, first hand, how state interference of this sort has affected another profession. We had a break-in at my practice premises and the police response was interesting. There was a lot of paperwork where much information was recorded, right down to such details as the religious affiliation of all members of my staff. What became apparent, however, was that nobody expected this process to lead to the arrest of the burglar. As an outsider, it appears to me that the police investigation of burglary has been made a non-job.

Could this happen to the dental profession? Could it become common for a patient to attend an appointment with a dentist for say, the relief of toothache, only to find that after much paperwork, and all policies and procedures have been complied with, they are sent away still in pain? Time will tell, but I believe that that is precisely what is going to happen, and with it our value to the community will be lost.

1. Chalfont St. Peter

Sunrise from the Humber Bridge

Cracking sunrise over the Humber this morning. I hoped it would be - so I went up on the Humber Bridge at a quarter to eight this morning in the hope of getting some half decent photos. If I'm honest, I was a bit disappointed with my photos, but here goes....

Sunrise from the Humber Bridge looking south

Horse meat in Tesco burgers

I'll admit that I've found the whole horse meat in Tesco burgers thing hilarious. Let's face it, it's only a cultural thing that makes us Brits pull a face at horsemeat. In fact I'm amazed that Tesco haven't shipped them straight over to France and flogged them as premium burgers!

Humber Bridge in fog

The sight of the Humber Bridge towers poking out of the fog was a magnificent sight this morning. The Humber sometimes fills with fog and, if your fortunate to be further away, the view can be stunning. Hopefully tomorrow morning I'll not spend so much time deicing all the locks at home and work so I can get out and about with my camera.

Radiation Quality Assurance file for dental practice

Inspired by the Radiation Physics Department at Castle Hill, I decided to rewrite our radiation Quality Assurance file - and courtesy of their common sense approach it's turning out surprisingly easy. Grafting their format and ours together is working out very nicely!

Deja Vu

I spent an hour clearing snow and laying rock salt  before the practice opened this morning. Good job I thought ahead and had a stock pile! It all melted very nicely and then I watched the weather forecast on BBC Look North - minus nine Celsius tonight. Looks like I'll be doing it all over again in the morning!

IRMER course in Hull

Chris Ziaras, Stuart Graham, Emma Lewis and I did enjoy the radiation protection course at Castle Hill Hospital, Hull today. It was a pleasant change to have the training provided by the team who actually provide our Radiation Protection Supervision and calibration of equipment, so they were chalk face radiology types. They spend their days looking after radiation kit, so it was much more relevant than even the NRPB courses I've done before. All too often training is provided by people who are trainers. So it was good to see someone lecture who had more than a hint of Professor Brian Cox about him! I've not seen anyone lecture about the physics of radiation in such an informative way before.

So, if you're looking for a high quality and enjoyable IRMER course, the HullRad group at Castle Hill are highly recommended.

IRMER course in Hull

Job for tomorrow - IRMER - Radiation Protection course at the Oncology Unit, Castle Hill, Hospital, Hull. Utterly rivetting stuff (!) about taking x-rays safely and looking after the kit. It's got to be done! So that's me, Chris Ziaras, Stuart Graham and Emma Lewis busy tomorrow.

NHS bed blocking

I do hope this week is easier than last week! After my mum in law having a close shave due to pneumonia and finishing up in Hull Royal Infirmary, I could do with a simpler week! I couldn't fault the care she received in Accident and Emergency and in the Acute Assessment Unit but I have to comment on the fiasco it was getting her discharged. It beggars belief that it took about five hours to get a pack of tablets up from pharmacy. We gave up, brought her to our house and went back for the tablets late afternoon. There's a major problem with bed availability in the NHS, so to have a bed blocked by someone who should have been discharged, just because a packet of tablets hadn't been move upstairs, is appalling.

And am I being cynical? But a patient who is well on the way to recovery is easy to look after, whereas a new case is going to cause major work. So the Ward don't complain about the delivery of the drugs because it makes life easy for them and the bed problem is somebody else's. I'm either being cynical or insightful - you decide which.

Either way, Pharmacy needs sorting out.

She's looking a lot better

A bit of a torrid week. My 85 year old mum in law has been taken ill and we ended up at Hull Royal Infirmary yesterday with her. Now, life can't be easy at Hull Royal at the moment because they're doing a £7 million refit on Accident and Emergency. So the unit is tipped upside down while the work goes on.

It was interesting to cast an eye over the place with the Care Quality Commission parameters in mind. I did spot something that an Inspector would have been interested in but I'm not going to mention it because I don't think it matters in the grand scheme of things. BUT, the staff were brilliant. I heartily appreciated the member of staff who came out into the waiting room, looked around the motley collection of malingerers and then made eye contact with my mum in law. "You look poorly - in you come". That's triage the old fashioned way. It's called common sense. (Did the man in the next cubicle really need to be in Accident and Emergency with a broken tooth?)

The Foundation Year 2 Doctor (what used to be called a Junior Doctor) who looked after her was great. The nurses were great. Everyone was great.

They were working under very difficult conditions and doing a sterling job. People are always quick to criticise Hull Royal Infirmary. And they're wrong. Sadly they spend a disproportionate amount of time doing things that are designed to keep the ambulance chasers away, and this can easily affect the quality of care. So my mum in law had exceptional care from people who really came across as caring. So, what's more important? Patient care - or following a tick box exercise?

(She's on a ward, being given intravenous antibiotics for pneumonia and is looking a lot better).

The Northern Ireland problem

I was listening to Radio 4 this lunchtime as I drove around buying bits and bobs for the practice. A heated discussion broke out about Northern Ireland and the Troubles, particularly the present problems with rioting. I've got to say that I get really frustrated with the Northern Irish problem.

A few years ago we holidayed in Clonakilty, to the west of Cork in Eire. Nice town and the absolute epicentre of Republicanism, as Michael Collins was from Clonakilty. We're an English family, with some Irish blood. Despite our glaring Englishness, we were treated superbly by everyone and I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Clonakilty for a holiday. The people there have moved on. They've buried the hatchet and just got back on with their lives.

A couple of years ago we went to a friend's wedding that straddled the Irish border between North and South. The wedding was in Northern Ireland and the reception in Eire! Again we had a great time - everyone just got on with it.
The Irish, both Southern and Northern are renowned for their hospitality and their welcome

So I come back to Radio 4 this lunchtime. A representative of the Loyalist movement was banging on about history and defending the flag - insisting it should be flown every day. Do we fly the Union Jack every day on the UK mainland? No we don't. Will the future of Northern Ireland be served better by a common will for a successful future, or by an obsession with a very difficult past? Let's face it - the powerful people in Britain have perpetrated some rather horrible acts in Ireland. And the Loyalist and Republican movements have both committed acts that nobody in a civilised society should be proud of. Deep down, we all know that ALL Governments are rubbish, so it doesn't matter who's holding the purse strings.

In common with many of the hotspots around the world, some of the people of Northern Ireland need some selective amnesia. Forget the past. Forget the horrible things that both sides have done to each other, wipe the slate clean and move on.

Rioting will merely serve to ruin the Northern Irish economy and destroy tourism, and it's a lovely place to visit. So, as I listened to the radio, I couldn't help but think, "For God's sake, Grow Up!"

Just saying!

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Paperwork done. Then a good session of teaching Anatomy. I've been running around the Anatomy of the head with our trainee, Sam. The biggest problem for me now is that it's over two years since I practiced and you lose the jargon if you don't use it regularly. Thank God for those filthy mnemonics I was taught as a student! There's a lot to be said for somebody teaching you an easy way to remember stuff, even if it's unrepeatable in polite company!

We've had a meander through the twelve Cranial Nerves and their relationship to dental local anaesthetic, particularly the Fifth (Trigeminal) and Seventh (Facial) nerves. It brings back memories of a couple of patients from decades ago with Ramsay Hunt syndrome, where shingles of the Trigeminal nerve triggers palsy of the Facial Nerve because they're so close together in their route past the ear - very rare but you do see it.

Christmas Prize Draw

Monday morning!

Draw made for last round of entries into our practice competition. Nice surprises on their way for Teresa and Tracey!

New Colgate electric toothbrush review

We were sent samples of the new Colgate Omron electric brush before Christmas. The idea was that we'd test drive the flagship model and the feed back what we thought.

So here it is - the result. We don't rate it.

It's horribly noisy
It has a variable speed that depends on how you hold it - we think it's too technique sensitive. It all seems a bit pointless.
If you accidently touch your other teeth with the back of the brush, it's deeply unpleasant because the whole of the brush and shaft vibrates.
The timer stops the brush dead after two minutes, whether you've finished or not.
If feels really cheap.
We feel that our teeth weren't as clean as our various other methods of cleaning.

So - we wouldn't buy one!

Cheapest cooker parts in Hull

Our cooker went "pop" the other night while making tea. It wasn't just a pop, it was a very loud pop. Now, I'm the type that has to have a go at fixing things. And if you want parts for a cooker in Hull, where do you go? Sellwoods on Hessle Road. Sellwoods are opposite the parade where Wilkinsons and Home Bargains are. From outside you'd never imagine that they have what you want, but they have everything from bulbs to cooker elements - one of those old fashioned shops where they actually stock what you need -  and at ridiculously low prices too.

It was a doddle fixing the cooker - maybe more people should have a go. If you want to work out whether the heating element has blown, do this:

Turn it off at the mains!
Take the cover plate off over the element.
Remove the screws that hold the element.
Disconnect the wires from the back (make a note of which is which) and tape them to make sure they don't fall into the panel behind.
Take a good look at the element - if it's failed, the smooth outer surface will have swollen and split.
Pop down to Sellwooods (or similar in your own town) with the element. The nice man or lady in the shop will sell you one the same size.
Push the cables back onto the new element in the same order, make sure it is earthed properly.
Screw the element back into place and replace the cover.
Switch on at the mains and test.
Enjoy your food!

Approximate cost - dependent on model - £25!

Flood Risk

Flooding - it's becoming the norm around Britain these days. As climate change makes the weather more extreme we're experiencing heavier and heavier downpours. And sadly it's having a major impact on people's lives. 

I do have to say though, that sometimes I'm short on sympathy. If a little knowledge is applied before a house is bought, flooding can often be avoided! Hull and the River Hull valley are below sea level - very much in the style of New Orleans. Hull and surrounding area, in a triangle from Hessle to Hedon at the southern end, all the way up to Driffield is below sea level. So there's a history going back thousands of years of the Hull valley flooding. Indeed, the valley is really meant to be salt marshes and has been reclaimed by drainage. Hull's early history with the monastery at Meaux was purely because Meaux happened to be just a little higher than the surrounding land and presented a better spot to found the monastery.

Then we come to the present day. Place names are often great indicators of history. Many of them are direct pointers to flood risk. So, when I hear that Watton Carrs has an issue with flooding, I'm not remotely surprised. A Carr is a wetland, as is an Ings. So these places are fundamentally meant to flood.

A little learning about the local history of East Yorkshire and the areas that are in danger of flooding become obvious. It's not a very long time since the shoreline of the coast was Beverley Road, Hessle!


Christmas tree planted out into the practice garden this morning. I won't dig it up next year - I'll buy another, so that's another tree added to the practice plot! I buy a different species each year, so the diversity is gradually increasing.

Meanwhile, the nice people at Autologic, Itlings Lane, Hessle sorted my wife's car out a treat. We had a warning light appear over Christmas. Nice people. Nice job. And we didn't get robbed by the main dealer!

Lottery win

You know the feeling when you feel technology is against you? I've had one of those days! You could get quite paranoid some days!

I finished up raking about in a printer to find the stray piece of paper causing a jam before spending half of the day plugging away, trying to get into our website. One day they work, then as if by magic, the next day nothing does! I'm convinced that techies always retain that last vital piece of information you need to sort out a problem, just to keep control! After three hours going around an interminable loop, I eventually cracked the problem but there was no apparent sensible reason why I couldn't get into the site in the first place.

Meanwhile my phone has decided to send texts to the wrong people! Why?

And then the cooker went "pop" when I tried to cook tea!

Ah well, at least I won £12 million on the lottery last night. Oh hang on - that was a fantasy I slipped off into. It was actually a couple of quid!


My daughter said to me - "when someone asks what you got for Christmas, Dad - just say Fat!" The Cheek!

Just saying

So what is Christmas really all about? In 2012 is it really about the birth of Christ, the Christian Messiah? Or is it really about big business and commercialism? Is it about Goodwill to all men? Or is it about grabbing the bargain in the sales with a belly over-full with food? Is it about spending time with friends and family? Or is it about children receiving ever more expensive electronic trinkets that will be discarded through boredom in a matter of weeks?

I know where I stand - I'm not a religious man, but I understand the ethic of Christmas. It disappoints me terribly the way that the Middle East has been arbitrarily carved up by the major powers over the last hundred years, causing all kinds of friction. And it disappoints me even more that the various religions (and their subdivisions) can't just get on with each other and stop fighting. Isn't religion about a moral code? About the greater good? Isn't it about everyone clubbing together and creating a better world?

We've people dying in conflict. We've people dying due to disease, drought and famine. And yet the powerful continue to feather their own nests at the expense of others.

Come on world. Let's shake hands and try to understand each others viewpoints a little better. Let's be less greedy. Let's stop this ridiculous "I'm right and you're wrong" culture that causes so much conflict.

Just saying.

National Elf Service

It was good to see Luke Campbell, Hull's own boxing Olympic Gold Medallist in Hessle yesterday, even if he was dressed as an elf!

Christmas approaches at speed

And so we finish for Christmas - apart from our emergency cover over the holiday period. I've had an eclectic day. I spent the morning rewriting the front page of our website to tie up the holiday emergency cover arrangements, had a laugh with the girls at work and then went out on errands. Stuart Graham's going down with the infernal cold that's rampant in Hull at the moment and Chris Ziaras is seeing his mum!

It was nice to go see a patient for whom I'd been working on a camera that wouldn't take a decent photograph. Camera sorted nicely and good to chat with a very long standing patient who needed some help.

Then I went onto a GP practice, where I'd been asked to relate our CQC experiences with their practice manager. I reckon we had a very constructive couple of hours - lots of experiences shared and lots of pointers given. Back there in January for a chat with their staff. It's good to help!

Job for the morning - Christmas shopping! (I'm not entirely sure that an oak lintel for over a door will suffice for a Christmas present for my wife!)

Echoes Foundation, Hull

Just got the certificates for our PAT testing (Portable Appliance electrical safety tests). Who'd have thought that we'd be able to get this testing done by a charity? A superb idea, Echoes Foundation in Hull have a volunteer who does PAT testing and all the monies paid go to the charity! Obviously I've topped up the money we owe them to make an extra contribution - and everybody's happy!

Schulke and Mayr touch free dispensers

We're obsessed with the prevention of cross infection in our practice. And rightly so. So we've been pushing cross infection guidelines (as encapsulated in a rather grand Government document called HTM01-05) as far as we can. And to be honest, it's been a load of hassle!

I've just had a call from Schulke and Mayr. They're a big supplier of cross infection prevention materials to medicine and dentistry. Two years ago we replaced all of our soap and alcohol gel dispensers with touch free dispensers - lovely! Or at least it should be.

From the moment we bought in the Schulke and Mayr alcohol gel and soap dispensers they've been a pain. They either don't dispense when they should, or they do dispense when they shouldn't. I can't say I was impressed the morning I walked in to find the paint stripped off a surface when nearly a litre of alcohol gel had self dispensed onto it! We've plugged away trying to get things sorted. The internal guts of the dispensers having been replaced twice, but things came to a head when we were inspected by the Care Quality Commission and the inspector couldn't get the gel dispenser in our entrance lobby to work! Now, if you're going to look an idiot, you don't want it to be in front of a CQC inspector!

I decided to ring Schulke and Mayr yet again. That was a month ago and nothing had happened, so I called them again yesterday. Finally, today, someone has owned up. Apparently the dispensers are rubbish! As if we need to be told that! But there are 15000 of them out there and we paid £80 each for the 14 we own. You've already done the maths .... that tots up to .... a huge amount of money! Add in to that the fact that the soap cartidges are too large so that the only way you could use the thing up would be to give yourself dermatitis and the waste of money is astonishing!

Now Schulke and Mayr have ISO 9001 Quality Control registration, so I reckon this goes down as a "non-conformity" - surely they had someone into the factory where they were being produced, looking at the QA systems?

So we try our hardest to get it right and the industry behind us are making a killing supplying substandard products to us. And that is yet another of the reasons why dentistry is becoming ever more expensive.

The Common Cold

Five o'clock in the morning and I'm blogging! And why? The Common Cold. That's all, the Common Cold. Who says were top of the evolutionary chain when something as small as the cold virus can make you feel so damned grim? I read somewhere that the average person suffers seven colds a year. Most of those are fleeting. You know the thing - a quick sneeze or a runny nose but this one is an absolute corker! I thought I'd better get out of bed to give my wife a fighting chance of getting SOME sleep! It's remarkable how something so small can make you leak fluid so efficiently.

So I suppose it's - Common Cold 1 Human Being 0.

Pass the hankies!

Sports Personality of the Year

I don't know who's going to win Sports Personality of the Year, but it's brilliant to see the Josef Craig win the Young Sports Personality award. If there's something to remember about people with Cerebral Palsy is that they are capable of the most astonishing feats. NEVER assume that someone with Cerebral Palsy has a low IQ. You could be very surprised.

Super Mario

I thought I'd have a bit of time off from blogging. All I ever seemed to be blogging was about funerals - my fourth in two weeks this week. So here I am back again! In the meantime we had our staff Christmas night out on Newland Avenue in Hull and we all made it home in one piece - even the member of staff who seemed to think they were Super Mario! No names mentioned!

Creativity in dentistry

Yet another funeral today. Sadly this was one of my aunts. I really could do with a break from funerals.

Bizarrely I've come home in a very creative mood. Has a VERY bright idea tonight! So I'll have to spend some time developing that one tomorrow!

Hull NVA social

That was a successful afternoon! I helped run the Christmas social for Hull Normandy Veterans, doing the music and quiz. If you'd like a copy of the picture quiz of old Hull, drop me a line! Ran some of them home, to make sure we had no accidents on the ice and then back to work. The practice had just ticked along without me - such is life!

Maths homework

How varied can a day be? I do wonder sometimes! My day varied from regular QA checking of the practice to full on Legionella prevention - flushing, testing and calibration of tap temperatures.

But at the opposite extreme I helped a young lad who'd forgotten to bring his maths homework home. He'd been doing coordinates at school, so we knocked up some Battleships grids (remember playing Battleships?) Easy to adapt them and then we did his homework together! It was pretty obvious he'd got the concept when he could do the negative quadrant! Good lad!

Hull and East Riding Asian Cultural Association

Nice letter today, from Asifa Hussain, the Chair of Hull and East Riding Asian Cultural Association. I organised the raffle for them at their last fund raiser back in September and it was very successful!

We made just over £800 on the raffle and a total of £4009 for the Yorkshire Scan Appeal! Result - and a very nice afternoon as well.

Who or What killed JR?

Who killed JR? It's more a case of WHAT killed JR?

It was sad to see Larry Hagman pass away, but I was shocked to hear cause of death was oral cancer.

larry hagman dies

Christmas social

Music assembled for Hull Normandy Veterans Christmas social. Picture round for their quiz nearly finished. I've got to say I'm looking forward to the look on the Secretary's face when I hand over the cheque I've been given to pass on to him!

Out with the mince pies for the waiting room at the practice tomorrow - and I must pop out and buy some chocolate for the kids!


It deeply saddened me today to hear of the death of the nurse at the King Edward VII hospital.

It's been assumed that she took her own life - I suspect that it was in a demonstration of honour. Poor lass. I do hope the Australian DJs who considered it hilarious to perpertrate the prank have the brains to realise what they've caused and act with an equal degree of honour (to resign and disappear off the face of the earth). It's so typical of the parasitic relationship that the media have with the rest of us.

Rest in Peace. I understand your values even if the pond life that triggered this event don't.

Donation, Donation, Donation

I changed the large display photograph on our reception wall last week. Because I'm a D Day nerd, the original was an image of Les Braves, a monument on Omaha Beach, Normandy. I've got to say it was stunning, so when it came down I thought I'd be able to dispose of it in some useful way. I'd wrapped it in bubble wrap and popped it on one side. The replacement was a photograph of the Pool of Reflection, at Colleville American Cemetery, Normandy. Bit of a D Day theme here!

Neither have lasted long! Job lot sold in aid of Hull Normandy Veterans for a very significant donation!

Now I need another photo!

Hull Eye Hospital

My good mate Dave is poorly. He went to Mexico on holiday to celebrate his impending retirement and picked up a little something to bring home. He called me the other night to say he'd got a sore eye, so our little trip to the pub for a beer and a bag of chips on the way home would have to be put off. Probing a bit further it turns out the soreness was actually agony and he hadn't slept for two nights!

I popped round to see him - finding him in a bit of a mess. "Get yourself off to Hull Royal. That's not a touch of conjunctivitis". He's been in the Eye Hospital in Hull for two nights so far and he won't be home tonight. A word of warning - he's picked up an amoebic parasite in a swimming pool in Mexico and the little critters had eaten an ulcer into his cornea. Why Dave? Contact lenses, that's why. Don't wear contact lenses in a swimming pool. It's a very bad idea.

And now a compliment - to the Eye Specialist who left his own birthday party to look after Dave on the first night, and quite probably saved his sight, I would personally like to pass my compliments. Good old fashioned care, combined with talent and knowledge - you can't beat it. Respect.

What makes you happy?

Monday morning - I don't rate my chances of getting through everything today! How on earth did I ever have time to be a dentist? It's just coming up to two years now and it's gradually working out of my system. It's not until you stop being a dentist that you realise how unhappy many dentists are. It's very sad. The very career that many dentists strived for often becomes the thing that makes them most unhappy. Thank God I got out!

Humber Green Revolution

Come on Siemens - the grand old City of Hull is like Usain Bolt in the starting blocks. Hurry up. Get signed on the dotted line and then Hull will erupt into life. There are so many projects waiting for the Green Revolution to start in Hull and Siemens are the starting gun. So come on Siemens - stop fiddling about and get on with it.

Australian smoking advertising

It's that time of night when I blog while watching TV programmes about Classic Cars.

Part of the routine is to check Google Analytics to see how busy the website has been and this week we've had our best ever week. Next its' over to Facebook and there's a conversation going on about the banning of advertising on cigarette packets in Australia. Total common sense as far as I can see. We need to stop young people taking up cigarette smoking if we're going to slow the rate of mouth cancer. BUT for some bizarre reason, we have two dentists (one British and one American) arguing against it! I can only assume that they're both hardened smokers or in the pay of one of the tobacco companies.

D Day tour DVDs

I've had a very busy day!

A walk around the Humber Bridge Farmers' Market and then a nice Christ
mas tree bought for the practice today. The selection at Swanland Garden Centre was very good. It'll stand outside the door when I've dressed it with lights and I reckon it'll look rather good. I buy trees with roots and then, when the Christmas season is over, plant them in the practice garden. So the idea is to buy a different type each time and add a little diversity to the trees in our plot. Our holly trees are all but bare of berries already this year. Whether this is a sign of the winter to come  ..... who knows!

Then I've spent the afternoon burning the last DVDs of our last battlefields tour for Hull's Normandy Veterans - 80 DVDs take forever to complete! Especially when they have to be labelled and the sleeves made. I had the idea of using the East Yorkshire Regiment War Diary from D Day for the cover and labels. It's worked out really well.

Comet stores - a lesson from history

We've been watching the fortunes of Comet stores with interest. To be honest, we've been predicting their demise for about five years. Culturally I think they'd lost the plot. I think they'd fundamentally forgotten what they were there for - to sell electrical goods to Joe Public.

Comet are (or were) a small company based in Hull that grew into an empire - an empire serving its shareholders. And I suspect that's where it all went wrong. I'd stopped shopping in Comet. I'd stopped for a number of reasons and I think my personal experiences can explain why Comet are about to disappear. Here are some of the reasons.

The very first day that Comet opened a new store on St Andrews Quay in Hull, I bought a Black and Decker Dustbuster hand held vacuum cleaner. I bought it to pick up random leaves brought into the practice. It was utterly useless, so I took it back. "You have to send it to the manufacturer" - wrong. You know that. I know that. And the Sale of Goods Act knows it. Impression as a Customer - bad. Very bad.

It's been interesting to watch the Hull Daily Mail business section on Wednesday evening. They have a "who's lost in County Court" section. And in there almost every week were Comet. Their customer service department would deny a customer their rights all the way until County Court. And then lose! Not clever. Really not clever at all.

You know the scenario when your washer dies. It dies full! So you need one yesterday. I've been in this exact situation - standing in Comet on a Saturday morning pointing to a machine and saying "I'll take one of those". "Sorry mate, none in stock - but we can deliver you one later in the week" TWELVE machines in a row! So I bought one from Hanson Electrical on Willerby Road in Hull. I have to say it's very satisfying to take the item you bought home with you. When the washing machine at the practice played up recently where did I go? Comet? No - Hanson Electrical. So they got two sales on the back of Comet's failure to carry stock.

So an accountant high up in the company makes a strategic decision to strip the stock to the bare minimum to increase the dividend for shareholders. At the same time, the company has been treating customers abominably. It's not a recipe for success.

Imagine if the company carried stock to take away immediately. And if they'd had the same attitude as the likes of Marks and Spencer to customer service. I reckon they'd have survived, or even thrived.

Here endeth the lesson.....

Corrupted Compact Flash card

In the two years since I stopped working as a dentist, my relationship with dentistry has changed. It's been an interesting journey as I've stepped back from what was my whole being. You don't just go to work, drill teeth, and then walk out and forget it until tomorrow. It occupies your whole life.

So I'm now in a place I never expected to be. I started the day by making DVDs of my last battlefields tour of Normandy with Hull Normandy Veterans, then onto the practice to make sure everything was going well. First thing was to assess the posture of our trainee dental nurse, to ensure she was sitting correctly when assisting Chris Ziaras. Next was a visit to another practice to set up a referral arrangement, then out to look for storage boxes - the staff in Staples, Hull must think I have a fetish because I buy so many of them!

Next a funeral for a patient of nigh on a quarter of a century and then back to the practice. Then I was sent out to take post (and I'm the boss!) before coming home.

Home doesn't mean finished. I finished a pile of DVDs for the Normandy Veterans, made a couple of discs of local history photos of Hull for patients and then topped it all off by trying to recover photograph data from a corrupted Compact Flash card for a patient. Sadly, the card was horribly corrupted, but I did manage to solve all her set up issues on the camera and give her a replacement card that I happened to have.

And now I'm watching Man v Food on Sky TV!


OK - I'm a jeans man. I live in jeans. So when I turn up at work dressed in a suit, the staff wonder what goes. Today it was yet another funeral of a patient. Please let me have a very long time until I attend another.

Here's to you Maurice. I've been very privileged to know you. And by the reaction of staff from St Marys residential home, Anlaby, they felt the same.

May you rest in peace.

To lock away - or not to lock away?

I'm the type that puts my hand up if I've got something wrong. You know the sort of thing - I was caught speeding on the M62 in 1984 and told the bobby who stopped me to "do me" because I deserved it. I learned my lesson and have had a totally clean license since! (Famous last words!)

So when we were inspected by the Care Quality Commission and we were told that our emergency kit should be locked away, I immediately changed procedures and it was duly locked away. Our logic was that, in case of emergency, the kit should be immediately available. So imagine my surprise when I went to see another dental practice today who'd been inspected in the same week as us. They'd been criticised because their emergency kit WAS locked away!

Can somebody decide what the CQC want us to do? We want to provide the best service to our patients, so we do our best to be "compliant". The reports are then published with criticism of dental practices, so practices can be publicly "rubbished", but there is absolutely no consistency.

Come on CQC - make your mind up.

Search Engine Optimisation

Our website's gone a bit mad today! I check the activity on the site, using Google Analytics, to see what's happening. Up to now, today we've broken our record for a day by 10%. Maybe the drivel I type in our dental blog every day is more interesting than I thought! (Or matbe not!)

Cheap Samsung Galaxy tablet

It's been a funny week this week, a mixture of training staff (in Data Protection and Food Hygiene) and fixing things! Is being in charge just about ordering staff about? Or is it also about going out and fixing the car for them when it won't start? That's why the battery charger came out earlier today! I just need the weather to improve so I can get up on the roof of the practice and put a loose slate back. Picked up a surprisingly cheap Samsung Galaxy tablet from PCWorld on St Andrews Quay, Hull for staff to use as part of our audit program - now the hard bit - learning how to use it!

We've a "lunch and learn" tomorrow and I have a suspicion there's some dental postgrad at the Village Hotel in Hull tomorrow night as well! Busy times! I'm not entirely sure how we fit dentistry in.

Men are from Mars....

What's the real difference between men and women?

I think I know! While pottering around Sainsburys in Hessle tonight buying emergency supplies of tea, coffee, sugar (yes, really) and washing powder I ran into my mate Kelvin. Kelvin and I go back to my very first days in Hull in 1984. We don't see each other every day, in fact we see each other periodically, but I'd still rate him as a true friend.

So what's the difference between men and women? My experience of the women I know is that they're often insecure in their friendships. If they don't see each other for a while they start to worry about the relationship. Whereas men often don't see each other for ages (even years) and still are happy to call each other friends. I suppose we're more like the labrador that greets you when you get home from work. I have mates who I haven't seen in years and I still regard as best mates!

(I know you're reading this Kelvin!)

Hull floods of June 2007

It doesn't inspire confidence when I've got patients on Facebook saying that a stockpile of sandbags has appeared in Willerby. It saddens me to hear of people being flooded out, or even losing their lives, but it's amazing how rapidly the country has forgotten that 10,000 properties were flooded in Hull in June 2007.

No wonder people are worrying.

Lime Pickle

Friday night. Plumbing finished and very nearly finished cabinetry in utility. Health and Safety project finished. Man v Food on the telly and the urge to eat.

My preference is for Christmas cake with cheese, BUT with a twist - Sharwoods lime pickle! Try it, you may be surprised!


Finished my Institute Of Safety and Health (IOSH) project today - hopefully I'll pass! Also, almost finished refitting our utility room at home so the next thing is to get back onto tracing war history for Hull's Normandy Veterans. Life is complex!

Protein testing swab failures

Record day on the website yesterday! I've got to say it's very satisfying, so I'll keep plugging away with the site.

So here's today's rant! We use various methods to check our sterilisation equipment is working well and when the checking does awry it's downright irritating. This week seems to be one of those weeks. First we'd a digital logger fail on one of our autoclaves. I picked it up on our weekly routine checks. It's been blamed on a dodgy SD card, but I remain unconvinced. The machines have a USB port to allow us to access the data deep within the machine and we also have manual tests and logs, so we have duplicated systems - but the checking gear shouldn't fail.

But, what has really got my goat today is the testing of our washer disinfectors ... aaargh! We use Protein testing swabs once a week to make sure the machine cleans instruments well before they are sterilised. But the latest tests have failed the machine. The tests detect whether protein has been left on instruments. Fortunately, we have a duplicate system, where we use something called Wash Checks that test whether the machine can remove debris from instruments. These are supposed to be used quarterly, but se do them weekly. These tests have been saying that the machines are running well, as do the manufacturer's tests. So we got suspicious of our Protein Testing swabs. Therefore we bought in a different brand of test and they passed the machine - conclusion, a problem with the swabs. So I rang QWS, who supplied them to be told they had a dodgy batch!

OUTRAGEOUS! So we buy in equipment to Validate our equipment - to prove our kit works well, and the tests are "dodgy". Had they contacted us to let us know they had a problem? NO? Did they know who had the dodgy batch? NO?

So, we go to the far end to prove that our kit works well (at some ridiculous cost) and the damned industry behind us, while merrily ripping us off can't even be bothered to give us an audit trail that proves that what we're doing is worth the paper it's printed on.

Dentists should be practical

I'm a firm believer that dentists should be practical people. I can't be doing with dentists who can't fix things or work out why something isn't working. I reckon this gives you the creativity to dig your way out of a corner and to apply your basic skill set to all the bizarre things you come across in a day.

So it was no surprise to find Stuart Graham has dismantled his x-ray viewer this morning because it had started to flicker - a quick trip out for a new tube solved that. And Chris Ziaras is as bad as me for pulling things to bits! A touch of Aspergers syndrome perhaps? That's probably why I've spent the evening plumbing in a sink. I've got to say I love nothing more than pulling a room to bits and starting again!

And that's why I'll be on the roof at work as soon as the howling wind stops - an irritating damp spot appeared today on our landing and I bet it's easy to cure with a little common sense.

Swanland Primary School

This morning I dived into the practice first thing to collect equipment and then set off to Swanland Primary School. I'd been asked to go up and talk to them about teeth. Sadly, the National Curriculum doesn't really use common sense, so I was presented with two classes of five and six year olds to try to teach about fermentable carbohydrates and acid attacks. So it was obvious we needed a different tack.

I may have thrown the teachers a bit of a curved ball this morning because the first thing I did was stick some of my own plaque under our video microscope (we'd rigged it up to an interactive whiteboard) and then let the kids watch real life "germs" running about. Even for adults this is stunning, but when you're five it's awesome! We tied in bits about toothbrushing a little about diet, but I thought we'd tie in germs on teeth with germs on hands. After all, give kids an orifice and they'll stick a finger in it! After teaching sixty kids how rubbish they are at washing their hands and how they should really be doing it, using our UV Handwash training kit, they'll hopefully see an improvement in health in the classes.

Next it was the funeral of one of our long-standing patients. Two funerals in two days for me - very sad.

Then into the practice and we drew the prize draw for our latest patient comment draw. Two prizes this time. Sophie elected for a bottle of Champagne and the other winner doesn't know yet because I haven't managed to get hold of him. Job for tomorrow!

An afternoon of admin and then home to fit worktops in our utility room. It was all going according to plan until the final cut last night. I made a pig's ear of it! So after some serious thinking I have a plan, it'll sort my dodgy cut out and enhance the job, so it looks like it was planned all along!


A very sad day.

I went the funeral today of Dave Hornby. Dave was the chap who looked after our air conditioning units. He was a genuinely good bloke to whom I felt the need to show my respects. And by the look of things, so did lots of other people.

Wherever you are Dave, respect.

And tomorrow I have another funeral - Hazel, one of our patients of nigh on 25 years. Again, Hazel was a lovely lass.

So Hazel, wherever you are, respect.

Old fashioned values

The economy continues to bite - I've had an e-mail from a dental therapist asking if I have any jobs going, because she's been made redundant. Once upon a time dentistry guaranteed job security, but in these troubled times it definitely doesn't. The problem with job security is that people can be complacent. So, there's a lot to be said for rattling people's cages every now and then.

The secret has got to be customer service. Surely, if you provide what people want then they're inclined to stick with you. Whereas, if you've got "a bit too big for your boots" you may find yourself struggling. And that's why I've asked her to contact me. Having survived the trauma of my career suddenly ending, we find ourselves in the opposite situation to the group of practices this therapist has worked for. Maybe it's because we value patient care above everything else - good old fashioned patient care.

Tog rating of a Santa outfit

The responsibility involved in being Santa is astonishing. With Safeguarding (particularly after the Jimmy Savile debacle) you've always got an eye on how things are running, who's chaperoning and who's in the "grotto". So it's not exactly relaxed from Santa's point of view!

A couple of weeks ago, I'd had a very interesting conversation with a police woman (I know it's actually a female police officer) and she absolutely nailed it - she described him as "hiding in plain sight". How true? We all knew he was creepy but he was so "in your face" that nobody twigged. Or did we?

So, there's the responsibility of child protection. Then there's the very fact that you're seen to be the real McCoy (not Santa number 365!) and so many little ones' hopes rest on you. You've got mum and dad in the background (in the middle of a recession) praying you don't say the child can have a Ferrari for Christmas and on top of all that - you sweat! By God do you sweat. Get a decent Santa suit and it has the Tog rating of a polar exploration suit! Maybe Ranulph Fiennes should dress as Santa for his next polar trek. Mind you, there's not much heat in the white cotton gloves.

Anyway, £297 raised for the school funds. So a day well spent. Happy kids. Happy parents. And money raised for school as well. And the high points of my day were twofold - a child who wanted a present for her mum and dad, not herself. And spotting a patient of over twenty years and welcoming her by name from behind the Santa outfit. To say she was gobsmacked was an understatement. Very funny!

So my faith in humanity is restored and I've had the very great privilege of being part of Christmas. Not the part about religious faith, but the part about goodwill to all men.

So here it is - goodwill to all men (and women).

Hymers Michaelmas Fair

Busy day! In to the practice early doors - make sure all is well, Then off to Hymers College to build Santa's grotto for tomorrow's Michaelmas Fair. Home via the plumber's merchant and then the rest of the day fitting cabinetry in our utility room. I'm absolutely convinced that people in dentistry should be both creative and practical! It better go get my red and white outfit out for the morning - after I've printed out the Safeguarding guidelines for Santa!

Hessle Local History Society

Back to the mill! Back in work about two hours and then I'm sent out shopping by the staff! Are they trying to get me out of the place? Having said that I was called by the Chair of Hessle Local History Society - he gave a picture of my house from a hundred years ago! That was a result. I've been trying to find one for years. What a mine of information he is. I can see a very productive relationship developing!

How to cure the recession overnight

I've had an idea.

The economic woes of Europe are, to a great extent, because the German economy is running at a different speed to the rest of us. They make loads of stuff that the rest of Europe has been buying. Because their economy is strong, the value of their currency should rise and the currencies of the rest of Europe should fall in comparison, but it can't because of the Euro. Without the Euro tying economies together, the effect would be that German goods would become more expensive, discouraging everyone else from buying their products and making everyone else's products cheaper as exports. They've kept this going by allowing everyone else to run up credit with them until the system was fit to bust.

Instead of the likes of Greece, Spain and Portugal (who are not entirely blameless) being thrown out of the Euro, because their economies desperately need to devalue their currencies, why not get everyone out of the Euro except Germany? (The same as Germany leaving the Euro and leaving everyone else in) That way the rest of Europe can plod on at the rate it needs to. If the rest of Europe were really naughty, they could default on the debts they have with Germany and effectively wipe the slate clean. Giving everyone a fresh start.

Just thinking, that's all

Safeguarding for Santas

Well that's my Institute Of Safety and Health Managing Safety course exam passed. Just the work based project to go!

Maybe I can crack on with life again now. Oh, hang on a minute ...... there's Santa's grotto to build and then a day dressed in red and white while wearing a beard. Must revise my Safeguarding for Santas rules. Yes, there really are guidelines!

Here's a link to guidelines

Happy Diwali!

Happy Diwali everyone!


I'm spending the first three days of this week on a Health and Safety manager's course. Fascinating stuff (if you like this kind of stuff), but I do find it odd how IOSH have a different set of parameters for risk assessment than the Health and Safety Executive!

So after a day doing Health and Safety there's nothing like some practical work at home. So here's a good one - buy a cabinet that's 300mm wide from B&Q and they supply it with a 600mm wide back panel! Not very intelligent. And then they supply it with seven carefully crafted horizontal pieces and want you to throw five of them away! Very ecological - so much for sustainability!

We will remember them

If you read this regularly, you'll be aware that I'm heavily involved with Hull's Normandy Veterans. It happened by accident, but has become a happy accident. I seem to have spent half of this weekend with them, with the Festiva;l of Remembrance at Hull City Hall on Friday night and then the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at Hull Cenotaph today. I'm pleased to say it runs in the blood, so my daughter, who's a Masters student at Royal Holloway in Surrey went to a remembrance ceremony herself today. The RAF monument at Runnymede is very close to Royal Holloway, so she went there - on her own.

I'm pleased it's rubbed off. We have a bigger place to play in society. So it was a shock to see that the President of the University of London Student Union had refused to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph today. He had some bizarre political angle. So I've e-mailed him and invited him to come and meet the veterans in Hull. I'm pretty sure he won't have the guts to do it. We shall see.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

We will remember them

Christmas is coming!

Christmas prize draw planned. Christmas do booked (staff getting excited - how sad!). Rang GSK about the fact that Biotene saliva replacements are unavailable. Having got nowhere with GSK, phoned the MHRA to try to prise out of GSK why we can't get Biotene until "the first quarter of 2013". Risk assessment done and a new emergency drugs policy written. Fitted in a haircut. Uniform taken for embroidery. Confirmed place on IOSH Health and Safety course next week. Fitted architraves to a door frame and treated with brushing wax. Painted a door and window. Cooked meatballs and pasta for tea. And all sorts of other stuff!

And now I'm off to ASDA!

£25 iTunes voucher

I've just set up our next prize draw. Trying to get anyone to fill in (NOT out!) suggestions sheets is a nightmare. People just aren't interested, so we started a prize draw earlier this year. One prize drawn randomly for filling one in and a prize for best suggestion. It struck me that the prizes we were offering discriminated against the under 18s, so I've just added a £25 iTunes voucher to the list. And this draw we'll make for Christmas. That should put a smile on someone's face!

How do you solve a problem like Maria?

Very Sound of Music! if you've never done the interactive Sound of Music, I'd highly recommend it.

So I have a conundrum. I'm being asked to lock away our emergency drugs kit. BUT, If a patient "melts down" while being treated you NEED the kit there and then - on the spot. So, after a risk assessment, we've bought in consecutively numbered tamper evident tags (designed for electricity meters!) to seal our kit and it can be positioned where we need it.



What a peculiar week. After being inspected by CQC last week - the culmination of two and a half years work, I've got the "post inspection blues". It's bizarre. Our feedback was very good, but because I've sunk so much time and effort into getting it right my life feels empty. The problem is that the CQC's parameters are so vague that you can work your butt off and not achieve their Compliance targets because nobody really knows what the targets are!

I've been told about two dental practices that have been inspected recently where Child Protection training hadn't been done. For God's sake - we treat children - they are at risk - we need training - - - Get Some!

So, I spent this morning training Sam, our trainee dental nurse in our drugs control policies. From logging in on arrival, right through to disposal of out of date medication. But along the way we covered Hepatitis, surface and core antigens of HepB, and the causes of jaundice. Then right through to vaccination against HepB and TB. We brought in the new EU law about whitening of teeth and the implications for illegal whitening by hairdressers and beauty therapists and it finished off a very productive morning.

I suppose that I'm melancholy really because we have a number of our patients who have life threatening illnesses at the moment. We go back a very long time and it makes me deeply sad. We stand beside them, come what may. I know that life does eventually come and get all of us, but why does it have to get the nice people?

Vacuum cleaner flex

Why are vacuum cleaner cables dark colours? I've been trying to source a brightly coloured one today so our staff have less chance of running over it with the vacuum cleaner. No success, so it looks like we're going to build one up using bright yellow flex.


CQC inspection of dental practices

The blog's been a bit quiet this week. Partly because we had THAT phone call at 4pm on Tuesday asking if it would be OK for the Care Quality Commission to inspect us at 9am Thurday. The obvious answer is yes. Well, you can't really say no! We were inspected on six "outcomes" and it went very very well going by our feedback, so that's a relief.

I've sunk my heart and soul into the practice for nigh on a quarter of a centur
y (we'll be 25 in April) and the last two and a half years hammering away trying to get it right for CQC. Unlike a lot of people, I get the idea of CQC. So much so, that I'll admit I've found the process really stressful - because we really really want to get it right.

Dental care is about giving a damn about people. It saddens me that dentistry has been swamped with huge corporates and entrepreneurs. Surely we should provide dentistry and happen to make a living, not do dentistry for cash with the patient being used as a vehicle for that end.

So I'm spending the weekend grouting floors and plastering at home..... normal service is resumed!

Out in 17

Two years ago today I came out of hospital after cervical spine surgery. I didn't know it at the time, but my career as a dentist was over. It's not uncommon for dentists to run into spinal trouble. Mine was put down to playing rugby when I was a kid, but decades in the same working position can't be good for you. (That and the multiple road traffic accidents!)

It's been a fascinating, if not difficult journey. But I think I may finally have settled down into a new life. Fortunately dentists have broad skill sets, so moving out into other fields is feasible. So, if you're a dentist reading this and the wheels are falling off your life, all is not lost.

So there is life after dentistry! And time and again I get asked do I miss being in the surgery. The emphatic reply is NO! I watch Chris Ziaras and Stuart Graham doing complex dentistry and I don't miss it a bit! I suppose I'd done 27 years in the surgery and I'd have been out in 17 if I'd done a murder! 


I do feel sorry for the Care Quality Commission. They're on limited resources and have to chase around trying to fight fires all over the place. It's difficult to see how legislation can deal with orchestrated sadism on the scale perpetrated at Winterbourne View. When staff collaborate as they did, it's got to be extremely difficult to uncover.

If we extrapolate this into the current nightmare that is unfolding around Jimmy Savile, it is again apparent that manipulative people can penetrate society's skin. So, we need to be vigilant. When we have suspicions, we need to raise them. We need to stand up and be counted.

The vulnerable need us. We owe it to them to root out the evil that mankind can inflict on the weak.

Dental nurses

Corsodyl Gel is back!

Corsodyl Gel - it's back. About time too. We've got our hands on some.

Every dental practice in the country needs Corsodyl Gel as part of its armoury. And then GSK got it wrong somewhere along the way and production stopped. They won't own up what they got wrong. so we assume it's embarrassing!

Dirty mags

I seem to spend my entire life writing and updating polices and procedures at the moment. Sigh! Even Sam, our new dental nurse apprentice commented how many policies we seem to have.

So imagine my horror when I saw today's BBC News article about a dentist who'd been told to remove magazines from a waiting room. I'm assuming they weren't "top shelf" magazines.

They'd also been complained at for using BluTack for putting up notices. I'll give good money that they were laminated Health and Safety notices!

It's absolutely barmy - running a dental practice and keeping Cross Infection Procedures tight is an artform - and then some idiot from the local NHS Trust comes and chips in their grossly misguided "advice". I assume that a Freedom of Information Act request would force the Trust to name and shame the individual so that we could track down whoever taught them this stuff in the first place. There's somebody out there pedalling this rubbish to the medical and dental professions. We need to get a grip.

Please save us from these people.

Swanland Primary School

It's nice to be told you're "a natural"! The talk with year 5 at Swanland Primary School went rather well and it wasn't even about dentistry! When I say well, I mean nobody cried anyway! Actually, the kids were great.

It was a serious problem trying to work out how on earth you get the whole of World War II into a short lesson. It finished up being the whole morning - and it could have gone on all day. Being into the local history of Hull, I grafted in lots of stuff about the Hull Blitz of 1941 and how Hull and Hessle were targeted because of docks and shipbuilding and all the other targets that made Hull such a tempting target. Places like Reckitts and the Rank flour mills plus all the chemical works around Hull were just too easy a target.

Even parts of the Mulberry Harbours for Normandy were built in Hull, along with ships and landing craft. So this tied in nicely with my interest in D Day and beyond, so we tied in very personal stories of some of the Normandy Veterans I personally know and some of the stories I've learned as part of my role in battlefields tours. So it went well! So much so, I've been invited back!

The Hull Blitz of May 1941

Policies! It's that update your policies time. So I've been updating and rewriting policies again. Today it was (amongst other things) Inoculation Injuries, not overly interesting but extremely important if someone manages to stick something sharp in themselves! I reckon I've managed to source some training about Blood Borne Viruses to be done here at the practice. So that's a result!

I've spent the evening assembling a presentation for Swanland Primary School Year 5 about The Blitz on Hull in May 1941 and Hull's place in the war effort. I lead a very diverse life! Then my son came home from the cinema with his girlfriend. His girlfriend is buying a house off Holderness Road, Hull. Guess what? The survey has produced information that the house was bomb damaged!

Health and Safety Inspection - Passed!

I had a message to call someone at York College this morning. Our trainee, Sam is doing her National Certificate in Dental Nursing Certificate at York College and they wanted to do a Health and Safety inspection. The inspector had a slack morning so he asked if he could come straight down. We're do have some pride in our Health and Safety set up, so I invited him down. No problems and he rated us as Low Risk.  Not that we expected any.

But I did invite him to comment on one of the clinical waste bins provided for us by Cannon Hygiene as part of our waste contract. I risk assessed the design of it and think it isn't fit for purpose - and he agreed! So, come on Cannon, I've complained about this bin and you're ignoring me. A Health and Safety expert agrees with me - so I'm not just being a pain. Get it sorted.


I forgot about negotiating with one of our local councillors about the junction of Ferriby Road and Heads Lane and Woodfield Lane, Hessle. He agrees with us about how dangerous it is! You never know, we may even get it improved.

Social Responsibility

I have no idea how I fit everything into life!

Today I -

Paid a visit to the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers on Adelaide Street, Hull about volunteering for Conservation projects. It was on behalf of my daughter who's doing a MAsters degree in Sustainability, but as a former volunteer myself, I've got the itch. So, I've absolutely no doubt that we'll be conserving wildlife habitat and rebuilding footpaths together in the near future. Their office on Adelaide Street, Hull is bang in the middle of the worst bombed area of Hull in WWII. Hull was bombed horribly during the war, and was only ever known as a "North East Coast Town", so Hull's sacrifice went largely unnoticed. Hull took a horrible pasting, many people died and enormous numbers of buildings used were damaged. So I took the opportunity to photograph the area for a little project I have on the go.

Then I photographed the front of Barclays Bank in Queen Victoria Square, Hull - the site of the old Prudential Tower and then up Beverley Road to photograph the National Picture Theatre, which was bombed in WWII and is completely untouched. There's controversy over the site at present because there's an offer afoot for £150,000 to buy the shell to turn into a Heritage Centre, but the property developers that own it (probably bought it for pennies) want £250,000 and won't budge. Parasites on society they are, I hope they rot. The site has stood untouched for 70 years and they think they have the right to rip off the people of Hull. Parasites. (All I can find on the web in the way of ownership is a Reid Park Properties, based in the US who are bankrupt - if they are the owners of the plot, how do they expect to renovate the site?) Like I said, Parasites.

Then I shot back to the practice and sorted out various bits and bobs including a replacement for Biotene Dry Mouth system for a patient with Sjogrens syndrome (seeing as GSK have made a hash of production but won't own up) before going up to Swanland Primary School to liaise over a presentation I'm doing for them on Thursday. On the way back, I popped in to drop off photographs from the last tour of Normandy with Hull Normandy Veterans and then worked my way through presentations on The Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 and IR(ME)R 2000 (radiation protection) with our trainee dental nurse, Sam. In the middle of all that we did dietary diaries and advice for a five year old. Then it wa home to make Spanish Omelette for tea (not dinner - we are Oop North!) and then several hours building up the presentation for Swanland Primary. I've elected tog o for a combination of the 1941 Blitz on Hull and the D Day landings.

3-2-1. You're back in the room! Don't waste your life - do some good. Get out there and live it. And don't just live it for yourself. Live it to do some good.

Swanland Primary School

Since retiring as a practitioner, the world has opened up for me. Working in a dental surgery is akin to living in a cell sewing mail bags. You spend endless hours face down in a little box. After the three decades I did, dentists often either become embittered/depressed or institutionalised into an abnormal life. I suppose in similar ways that Life Term prisoners do in Her Majesty's Prisons. I've seen this first hand, as a prison dentist. Inmates (or whatever the current politically correct term is - end users of the service?) would be either generally acquiescent or occasionally, quite angry.

It's been a revelation to be released into the wild again. To be free of a timetable is astonishing when you've lived your life against the clock for as long as I did. So it's nice to be able to give time for the important things.

Coincidentally, this week, I've been asked to go over two separate "Box 10s" - University application personal statements. One is for Dental Therapy and the other for Veterinary Science. I feel very honoured to have been asked. I've had some experience of doing mock University interviews for sixth formers, including in Veterinary Science, so reading the personal statements was something I've done before. The funny thing is that I've been involved far more with these statements than I did on my own kids' applications!

Then on Thursday I'm at Swanland Primary School on the outskirts of West Hull, giving a talk on World War II to a large group of ten year olds. That's going to be difficult! Swanland Primary School has been rated Outstanding twice in recent years by Ofsted, so the pressure's on!

Good customer service from B&Q

I ranted about Zero Tolerance in healthcare environments in my last blog! I'll admit I'm very polar in my views. I either like or I don't and rarely sit on the fence. If you've not been here before, have a read at some of the other blogs. You'll soon get the idea!

One of the things that really gets me is Customer Service, particularly when poor.

So, yesterday I went in B&Q, St Andrews Quay, Hull looking for some cabinets to fit in our utility room. The young chap who we dealt with
(Mike) couldn't have been more helpful. We went back today with the intention of dealing with Mike, but it was his day off (fair enough!). We were assisted by somebody at the other end of the age diversity spectrum (!) called Neil. What a nice bloke! He didn't HAVE to ask whether I was a Trade Customer and then set me up a Trade Card. But he did. And in the process saved me hundreds of pounds. Very ethical of him. Again, he didn't have to go the extra, but he did. I'll admit I did comment that if they did Air Miles, I'd have been to the Moon by now!

So he'll be the recipient of a little something by way of a thank you this week!

Well done Neil :-)

Zero Tolerance

October - so I'm on with updating our polices. Believe it or not, I'm up to our Herpes Policy! Yuck! Plenty to go yet though - can't wait to get to Zero Tolerance!

I have a problem with Zero Tolerance. I have to have a policy enshrining it BUT I don't believe in it.
My son had chest surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital. He had an initial pretty major procedure and then a second one a couple of years later. On the day of the second procedure (which was to be a day case) we were utterly messed about, particularly by one particular member of staff. It was sooo stressful. When we raised it with the Ward Sister, who said the difficult member of staff was "not a people person", we wondered why she was allowsed to work at GOSH. The most difficult thing a parent can do is to leave their precious child in the anaesthetic room of an operating theatre and wonder if they'll survive the procedure. If you haven't been there, you can't comprehend the feeling.


If I'd expressed my feelings, I'd have been thrown out, because the member of staff would undoubtedly have hidden behind zero tolerance. I chose my words very carefully there. I earnestly believe that Health Care staff have a habit of hiding behind Zero Tolerance when they actually caused the problem. Treat people well and they don't kick off.

So for light relief.....

I spent this morning writing training presentations about the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (plus addenda) and then the The Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000.

It keeps me busy!

I'm gradually building a library of training modules. We already keep documentation where our staff can readily access it, but the concept of "take away" training appealed to me, particularly since Sam our new trainee started.

Bouncers at Hull New Theatre

I've just spent the evening at Hull New Theatre watching the play, Bouncers. It's a John Godber classic - I think may be the fourth time I've seen it and it just doesn't get old because it's been steadily updated. It's been significantly updated this time. Sadly, the place wasn't full - so if it's still on, go get some tickets sharpish!

Be warned - it's quite naughty!

Busy website

Busy day on the website yesterday! Hesslewood Lodge seems to pop up all over the place these days - not just in Hessle and Hull.

Hull Fair

It's Hull Fair! While I was out and about today, I had a quick trip down Walton Street and had a look. Hull Fair is gigantic - reckoned to be the biggest travelling fair in Europe. I find fairs without people to be  fascinating. You get a different perspective and you get to see artwork you would never normally see.


I popped down to Hull Royal Infirmary this morning to collect some histology pots from the Pathology Department. Chris Ziaras popped something hard out of the gum between two teeth and decided he'd get it checked out under a microscope. Presumptive diagnosis - odontome. A rare beastie! Odontomes are basically a lump of scrambled up tooth substance, usually in a place you don't want it!

"So Chris, how many odontomes have you seen?"

"That's the first I've ever seen Mike!" (I can remember a couple in my 27 years, so I've now seen 50% as many since I retired!)

Rogue Landlords

Just thinking about my recent experiences with my daughter's landlady. My daughter is at Royal Holloway, doing her Masters and unfortunately has a landlady who isn't "playing the game". After researching the Law surrounding Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) I spent four hours compiling a letter. But my daughter won't let me send it - yet! We'll bide our time. Meanwhile - if you're in this situation, look at this website. It's about how to deal with a rogue landlord. I've a sneaky suspicion that this house may not be registered as a HMO, so I've been on to Runnymede Council to see if it's on the official register. I'm waiting for a reply. If it is then the deposit has to be in a registered scheme by law. Up to now there's been no mention of which scheme it's in - mmm! Then there's the bit about trying to get you to pay cash. (HMRC?) You're as suspicious as me, aren't you? I'm just saying it all looks a bit suspicious, that's all.

So here's the tip of the day - when you move into rented accommodation, particularly student accommodation, take a digital camera and photograph the place, particularly anything that's a bit rough or dirty or plain wrong. Photograph the meters. Then archive everything. When they try to rip you off - and in our experience they often do, you have the evidence to back you up, no queries. And when you put the photos in as counter evidence to their claim of inappropriate damage they don't have a leg to stand on! (Don't forget to repeat the photos as you move out). In a previous house, we had an allegedly broken window twenty minutes after we photographed it!

You have been warned!

The Hull Blitz

I've been asked to talk to a couple of classes of schoolchildren next week. I have the advantage of having had a couple of enhanced Criminal Records Checks (I'm Santa as well!)

Subject for next week's talk? World War Two! I'm pleased I'm not going on Mastermind .... "specialist subject, everything that happened on the planet from 3rd September 1939 until VJ Day" .... don't rate my chances of a success!

So I've spent this evening researching, I reckon my best bet is to tie together my interest in the history of Hull with my interest in military history. Hull had a very underplayed part in WWII. Hull was bombed horribly in the Blitz - bombed worse than London. 86,722 houses destroyed or damaged and just 5,938 undamaged. And just mentioned in the news as a "North East Coast Town". So most people have no concept of the destruction visited on Hull and the good people of Hull.

Hull was strategic - huge docks, flour mills, paint factories, oil refineries, shipbuilding, chemical works and aircraft production. Realistically, Hull was a prime target for bombing and suffering terribly in May 1941. The destruction of Hull was so complete that a "Plan for Hull" was put together by Abercrombie and Lutyens, to lay out a proposed way to rebuild the city. We keep a copy in our waiting room for patients to read. It's absolutely fascinating. The town planning may have been good but the post was architecture was poor quality and thrown up in a hurry. Hull is just nicely starting to have a second bite at the cherry. Clearing some of these post war carbuncles and replace them with well designed, interesting architecture is underway. That's what really gets my goat when people have a go at Hull - if you live in, say
(to pick a random place) Oxford that wasn't remodelled by the Luftwaffe, then your town WILL generally be prettier.


Some days are unpredictable in the way they pan out. Sam (our trainee dental nurse) and I worked our way through the building this morning doing a practice risk assessment. I was going to do one anyway, so tuning Sam into the culture of risk management in dental practice seemed a good idea. Getting her into the mindset, to look for the possibility of someone coming to harm, is all part of instilling that culture that generates a safe workplace.

First, we worked our way through Adverse Events and the concept of the Near Miss, and who to report and share any information with. We've all had that feeling when we thought - "that was close!" But rolling into this, we brought in the concept of Being Open. Being Open is a policy of owning up if you've made a mistake. We all do, from time to time, and a culture of learning from the mistake is far more productive than a Blame Culture. Yes, the boss might be a tad upset if you've just trashed hundreds of pounds worth of kit, but he/she is going to rather more cheesed off if they find out you covered it up!

So, we have a Being Open policy. It works for us very well and I'm more likely to cry for five minutes than get angry! And then we sort out whatever mess there is and move on. Being Open is linked with Whistleblowing. In many workplaces, employees know things that need sorting out. In some of those places there are seriously bad things going on that NEED to be sorted out, so I explained to Sam about Whistleblowing and how Whistleblowers are protected in Law. If someone needs "dobbing in", they should get "dobbed in" and be protected from any backlash. If suspicions about Harold Shipman had been reported earlier, we may have saved lives.

And of course that then leads onto Discipline and Grievance procedures. In the meantime, we were presented with an empty bottle of Poly F powder to dispose of. "Where does it go?" I was asked. "Ah Ha!" Out with the COSHH files. I'm a bit anal about COSHH, so I rewrite all the variously sized Material Safety Data Sheets onto Health and Safety Executive standardised A4 sized sheets to make them easily useable for staff. Then, instead of being stashed away in an office, they're kept on a self in our central lobby. So, out came the Poly F file and we went through it. The final box is about how to dispose of the material. "POISONOUS TO FISH - DO NOT DISPOSE IN HOUSEHOLD WASTE". So that's straight in the hard Clinical Waste bin then!

Poor Sam had had enough by lunch time, so she spent the afternoon working with Chris Ziaras by way of light relief! And loved every minute of it!

Safeguarding training

Quick audit of Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult training - am I a bit sad doing it at this time of night?

Risk assessments in dental practice

Our new trainee, Sam is enrolled at York College on the Dental Nursing Course. So I've been wading through some of the first week's items with her. We were going through areas regarded that are as risky as part of her homework - if I'm honest it was a repeat of the work we did with her in her first week's induction with us, but sheer repetition is the name of the game to get things to stick. I downloaded HTM01-05 for her and a document called "Eye of the Needle", which is a Health Protection Agency document, first in 2006, then 2008 about inoculation injuries.

Tonight, I've been working my way through an update of our practice risk assessments and then it struck me - we'll do the risk assessment together tomorrow. If we work together on it, I get another air of eyes on the environment we work in and I can teach Sam the principles of being observant about risk. So that's the job for tomorrow morning sorted.

In the meantime, I've typed up a staff meeting we had this morning and hunted down an alternative to Biotene Dry Mouth products because GlaxoSmithKlein have made a hash of production and there's none to be had anywhere.

Ferriby Road junction with Woodfield Lane

Ferriby Road and Woodfield Lane/Heads Lane junction. It's a Black Spot. Everybody around here knows it. Even the poor lady who had the misfortune to have her car written off this afternoon knew it. She lives on Ferriby Road, just about 50 yards from where her car was broadsided by a car pulling of Woodfield Lane. She recounted how her son used to run out of the house every time they heard that all too familiar bang of metal on metal. Because she was so acutely aware of the danger she always treated the junction with respect.

It didn't stop her car being written off though.

Humberside Police wouldn't attend because she wasn't badly injured - at least superficially. We sent her off
with her husband to A&E  to get her checked over. I would guess that she's rather sore at the moment.

How many times will cars be written off and their occupants escape with their lives by pure chance before East Riding Council sort this junction out? I'll keep you posted.

Clinical waste pre- acceptance audit

Back to the grindstone! Monday checklists done then straight into training again. We've been concentrating on things likes spillage protocols for mercury and biohazards using our specialist clean up kits. Then we've had a lengthy session on hazards - hazards like dental amalgam and mercury and clinical waste, particularly sharps.

I've had yet another phone call to Cannon Hygiene to deal with over our clinical waste. We've just repeated our Clinical Waste Pre-acceptance audit. This means that we fill in a load of paperwork to say how we dispose of our waste. The problem is that Cannon's own pro forma isn't for for purpose - for obvious reasons, if something is borderline you err on the side of caution, so we tend to dispose of things in an even more paranoid way than we need to. Sometimes this is purely to stop us being snowed under with even more bins! So, I have to say I really object to following Cannon Hygiene's protocol to the letter and then they criticise us! Shambles!

Fonts for dyslexia

One of the absolute fundamentals in what we do is communication. We talk all day with our dental patients, but we use all kinds of other modes of communication, from simple sketches on paper, to white boards in our surgeries and using iPads or laptops. Then we roll in some of the information of our website or the use of information sheets.

But, if we're using typed literature, what if the patient is dyslexic? And plenty of them are. Dyslexia is a condition where the letters or numbers are often flipped over in the reader's brain. So, if someone were clever enough to design a font that helps dyslexics to read it would be a really good idea. Guess what? They have!

Open dyslexia is an open source font invented by a chap called Abelardo Gonzalez. The letters and numbers are "weighted" to emphasise the bottom. This apparently help stop them flipping over. It's free to download and to use (just acknowledge Mr Gonzalez when you use it). I've been experimenting tonight and tomorrow I'm going to try and find someone who's dyslexic to try it on - I've printed a poem in two variations of font, one ordinary font and one in Opendyslexia. Downloading is free and easy from the website, you just need to upload it into Word. At first it didn't work for me until I restarted my laptop, After that, no problem.

Assuming I get a success, and I think I will, it'll give me another variation on a way to give information to patients. Sorted!

Men are from Mars....

Why does my wife watch me studiously pushing a mower up and down our back garden, trying to create neat straight lines - and then drag a wheelie bin diagonally across it when I've finished? !

Easy Fix Tyres, Great Union Street, Hull

I've had a peculiar noise from the front left of my car. So I jacked it up this afternoon and took the wheel off for a look. Not a lot to see, if I'm honest, so I cleaned up the brake disc and lubricated things and we'll see how it goes. Good job I did though - I had a nail in the tyre!

So I threw it in the wife's car and set off to get it repaired. I had never imagined it would be so difficult to get a puncture repair done on Sunday. It was like trying to find accommodation on 24th December in Bethlehem! Quite by chance I fell on a place called Easy-Fix Tyres.

They're on Great Union Street, Hull. They were actually in the process on shutting up shop for the day, but said they'd sort it, no problem. The young chap who repaired it was polite, chatty and generally very affable. I was pleased to hear he was working his way through NVQs to become a fully fledged mechanic (or whatever the correct term is these days).

They didn't have to do this for me. They just did good old fashioned Customer Service. Well done! And, Yes I will be back.

Kitchens for people with disabilities

The last couple of years weren't the easiest in my life. After cervical spine surgery, my career just stopped without warning. In the months running up to this, I'd been going about life in the usual way, ripping the house to bits and trying to improve it.

When Wren kitchens opened in Howden we thought we'd go and get a quote for cabinets for our utility room. We walked away because they expected 100% up front. I was reassured by a member of staff that my money was safe as the company was owned by Hull billionaire Eddie Healey. My obvious reply was that you don't become a billionaire without being ruthless and if the company was failing, they'd shut it over night. Also, what if they don't fulfil the order properly? I wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

So tonight I've been on the web pricing up the job again. I've been on Wren kitchens site and there's a sale on! Whoohoo! Except a cabinet that was £250 is now £1000 before the sale discount! Obviously, they're having a laugh and they don't actually expect anyone to buy any cabinets - I had 3 cupboards in the basket and it was over £1200!

So then I started to spread the net wider and have a look at other people's cabinets. I dropped into the Howden Kitchens web site and was pleased to find they do Inclusive kitchens for people with disabilities as a standard range. Here's a link to the page.

So obviously I'll be having a look at their cabinets for my utility - right attitude Howden kitchens. Well done!

Patients or friends?

It takes me forever to get around Sainsbury's in Hessle! I seem to know everybody. So after chatting with a patient at the entrance, I ran into another patient who had problems with her poorly husband and needed someone to talk to. And then I bumped into yet another of our patients who's also one my more eccentric friends. She's utterly lovable and a bit mad! So we get on like a house on fire! I ended up loaning her the use of my trolley and taking her shopping to her car.

And I never did get the stuff we needed!

Knowledge for its own sake

It's been a funny week. Catching whatever I caught last Saturday has rather changed my game plan for the week. The nice man from Environmental Health will hopefully tell me what I've had tomorrow, or possibly Monday.

So I've been doing all sorts of random stuff. Today I've been revising my knowledge of Islam and its relationship with Judaism and Christianity. Now admit it, that's the last thing you'd expect me to be reading up on. Did you know there's some serious common ground between the three faiths? But sometimes you'd never believe it.

This kind of knowledge matters. It really matters. We need to understand each other's cultures to get it right consistently, and to avoid the stupid faux pas we're all inclined to make in life.

Besides all that, isn't there a joy in knowledge for its own sake? That's why I've also been sorting out a patient's car insurance problems via Facebook!

Fire training in dental practice

Just shared our fire training package with a couple of West Hull dental practices. We should be sharing resources to make life easier. The training industry are making a killing at our expense, so the ability to share our training makes complete sense to me.

That reminds me, I must recover my food hygiene training package that I loaned out!

Operation Pangea

Interesting news this morning, both via the national press and now from the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA). There's been an international operation called Pangea going on, closing down those spam websites that offer tablets for all manner of things (!) and targeting the manufacture and distribution of illegally manufactured and counterfeit drugs.

Here's a link to the MHRA's statement

There's an old adage - If it looks too good to be true, it probably IS too good to be true. Don't buy "prescription" drugs from people in pubs. Or online. If you need help with something, go see your GP. Don't go buy the drugs abroad. Don't buy tablets that claim to have wonder properties - because they don't. Go see your GP, get a proper prescription and go to a proper pharmacy for it dispensing. British Pharmacies buy their drugs from recognised suppliers, who buy from recognised manufacturers. There's a whole system in place to make sure that the drugs you get from your pharmacy are the real deal. Buy from the web, from a front for a gangster and you swap your precious credit card details for a bag of coloured chalk (if it ever arrives).

Use your brains!

Humber Bridge Farmers Market

It just occurred to me - Sunday is the first one of October. So that means it's the Humber Bridge Farmers Market.

Excellent! That means I'll be able to get my hands on some of those magnificent low fat sausages from one of the stalls. 3% fat and they actually taste good!

Old photos of Hull

If you're on Facebook, and if you've an interest in Hull, sign up with Backtrack Hull. There's a superb set of photographs of bygone Hull. Some are ancient but some are recent years and the dramatic changes that have happened to Hull.

Remember MegaBowl on St Andrews Quay? And Blisters, roller skating behind the bus station?

Kenny Everitt and animal rights activists

Kenny Everitt on BBC Four tonight! What a genius. His combination of silliness and creativity was astonishing.

I then found myself in discussion with my son about how Kenny died. Sadly, he died from an AIDS related illness in the days before decent treatment was available. The chances are that he'd have been alive and still spreading his joy if he'd caught HIV later.

It makes me think about people who've died over the years. Are many conditions incurable? Or are they not curable YET? Think of all those unfortunate people who would have died of cancers that were previously incurable but have been cured to go on and live long and happy lives. To do this we need medical research and to do this, sometimes we have to make unpleasant decisions and do unpleasant things.

Do animal rights activists refuse to take any and all medication? Because, whether we like it or not, any drug that has gone to market has been animal tested. Sorry, but it's true.


I don't think Ed Miliband did himself any favours this morning on Radio 4. Talking loudly over an interviewer to force a point isn't necessarily the best way to make your point. It's fascinating to watch politicians of any persuasion use their various tactics to denigrate their opposite numbers. They could even try the alternative tactic of cooperation. We do need some consensus of opinion. After all we are in a depression (not a recession) - we'll look back on this era as similar to the pre WWII period.

Isn't it time for a system where party politics aren't relevant? How about we abolish political parties and at the elections the candidates try to win the local electorate around?  Then in Parliament, one of them stands up and says "I've had an idea". Then they all vote on the idea (without a Whip forcing them one way or the other) and we'll hopefully have Democracy.

Just a thought, that all!

Confined to barracks

Considering I'm "confined to barracks" I've got a lot done today. I've been through our website from one end to the other and then been working on Hull Normandy Veterans stuff all day. Well, not all of it - I've been doing paperwork as well. I bet the practice has been quiet without me!

Hull City v Blackpool FC

Well it turns out that everyone else at the function I attended in Hull on Saturday night is also ill! A few lessons on food hygiene and cross infection needed there! Working on the principle that I'm infective for at least 24 hours after the last "event", (you know what I mean!) I'm keeping put of the practice. The last thing we need is to be the vector for an epidemic! I'm also busily using cross infection procedures at home to stop the family catching lurgy off me - saddo! (Or sensible?)

And to add insult to injury I've just been invited for a meal and to watch Hull City v Blackpool FC tonight - by the owners of Hull City, the Allams - and had to turn it down because I know I'm still a risk.

Kingston Communications Business Line Rental

More than once I've felt robbed by Kingston Communications, Hull's local telephone company. You know the kind of stuff - paying more for an internet line for business than at home and using about 1% of your allowance. And they won't let you have a smaller package.

So when my phone bill arrived by e-mail today I was unimpressed. They've started sending out the bill in CSV format (Comma Separated Values) which is absolutely basic data, instead of a format that's easily read. They could easily convert this to a more user friendly format, but do I detect a game plan? Because there's no doubt that a lot of people won't even know what CSVs are. Their argument will no doubt be that it can be pasted into accounting software, but not many small businesses will be doing that.

BUT, what really got my goat was the size of the bill. It was in two parts - calls and line rental. The line rental was for a full year up front. I had already caught onto this and rang previously - surely there has to be a better solution. "Oh Yes. You could pay month by month!" So for over 20 years I was being used as an interest free loan by KC, until I queried it. Obviously, I asked Steve at the other end of the phone to change it. When I got my bill today I realised he didn't bother, so I've been billed for a year again. Hopefully, they'll sort it out this time.

Moral - if you have a business line with Kingston Communications and you're paying yearly up front - DON'T!

Broken Dental Dam clamps

How annoying. I'm ill today. Strongly suspect Norovirus, (Eww!) so that's me banned from the practice for a few days. I suppose I'll just have to continue working from home.

I've ploughed through an enormous document (150 pages plus) from the EU about Medical Devices and it's all but finished me off! Are people really paid to generate this stuff? It's a reaction to the PIP breast implant problem, so we all get dragged into it. Interestingly though, I've had an e-mail about an adverse event we reported - it was a near miss, rather than injuring someone. We'd had a dental dam clamp fail in use due to a design and manufacture problem. We'd reported it to the MHRA and their investigation seems to have ended. Guess what? We're not the only ones - but the MHRA think that's OK. That's why I've just e-mailed MHRA to tell them it's NOT OK! Are they going through a bureaucratic process or are they into patient care?

If you want something doing, give it to a busy man (or woman)

I get asked how I fit everything into my life.

I'll admit I do fit in a great deal - today I've been running the Raffle at the Hull and East Riding Asian Cultural Association fund raiser in aid of the Yorkshire Scanner Appeal. We'd an excellent presentation about Focused Ultrasonic treatment of breast tumours, had an excellent curry and raised a significant amount of money in the process. I don't know what the grand total is, but we raised £815 from the raffle alone. So a job well done.

I dropped off a load of shopping I'd bought for the practice, then I've been plugging away finishing a PowerPoint presentation.  I've been helping a young man from Hymers College, Hull construct an assembly about Hull's Normandy Veterans. So he's now sorted out. I'm currently editing video for a DVD of the recent Normandy tour we did and then I've got about 50 DVDs to produce and make covers for. Paperwork all day tomorrow and continue Sam, our new dental nurse's induction. I reckon we'll go through the rest of our policies and procedures this week. Then I'll pop down to see Kevin at Fotoworx on Hessle Road about photograph prints of the veterans.

I'm just going to burn DVDs of the Fire Training I used in Sam's induction for a couple of dentist friends of mine, then I may even go to bed! Or maybe I won't....

If you want something doing, give it to a busy man (or woman)!

Chris Ziaras wins Silver in British Masters Judo

Well, yesterday was busy! I spent a good chunk of it helping a young man make a PowerPoint presentation for a school assembly. He'd been to Normandy with us a few weeks ago when we took Hull's Normandy Veterans on a battlefield tour and pilgrimage and had been asked to recount the story to the school.

And then last night I was invited to the annual dinner of Hull's Military Police. They'd a couple of speakers, one of which was a Regimental Sergeant Major from Catterick who was deploying to Afghanistan in the near future. I had the same feelings that I had about meeting up with trainee Royal Marines at Bayeux Cemetery recently - I can't help but look at these young men and admire them for their courage, but simultaneously worry about their safety.

In the meantime Chris Ziaras was off to Northern Ireland for the Masters Judo competition and won Silver! So now he's been asked to train with the British Team!

Well done Chris!

Have Ofsted been in yet?

An enjoyable Friday - I started working my way through dental anatomy and notation with Sam, our trainee dental nurse. It's easy to forget how much extra terminology you need to work in dentistry. Somebody once tole me that dentistry doubles your vocabulary - I don't know if it's urban legend, but I wouldn't be surprised. I've found myself breaking down jargon into syllables all week and explaining the etymology of the words. So Sam's getting a crash course in Latin along with her dental nurse training.

Sam's had a very successful week. I can't help but think she'll make a really good dental nurse.

Then I got through a load of paperwork and did things that seem trivial but matter, like copying and laminating the instructions for the washing machine we bought for the practice this week. That'll keep them handy and tidy.

BUT most of all the high point of the day for me was Megan Stammers being found safe and well. I had a horrible fear of an unpleasant end to the story. It throws up all kinds of Safeguarding issues. It looks as though concern had been raised but not acted on. Have Ofsted been into the school yet? Because if they haven't they should have been....

X Troop 10th Survey Regiment

I've had a funny day today. Most of my day was taken up training our new dental nurse Sam. I covered the theory and practice of sterilisation and disinfection in dental practice from bacteria, viruses, spores, fungi and prions right through to decontamination and ultimate sterilisation. Then I handed Sam over to Nadene, who worked through the practical side of decontamination of a surgery including suction and so on. Then I took over and we covered the basics of confidentiality and information governance. Then it was off to a meeting to set up emergency cover for weekends over the next few months.

But the high point of my day was going to meet John Ainsworth, the Chairman of Hull Normandy Veterans along with the son of a soldier who'd fought in his regiment in Normandy. He'd got hold of a copy of the Regimental War Diary of 10th Survey Regiment - it wasn't complete, but it was an eye opener. There is an incalculable joy to helping a man of John's years come to terms with where he was in 1944, what his part in it all was and what happened around him. It was particularly poignant to find the references to his best friend Peter McGrady of X Troop being killed on 21st July 1944.  john was in Y Troop. I've already managed to find the graves of three men killed in the same truck, but I think one survived. He has an unusual name - if I'm really, really lucky I may be able to find him and he may be able to tell me what happened that fateful day in 1944. It's apparent that John needs to know - and the least I can do is help him to find out.

It didn't!

Good news - Hessle Haven didn't flood today. Now there's a relief.

Will Hessle Haven flood today?

The big question is ....

Will the surge of water from the recent rains affect Hull? It's due to affect York later this morning, but how long will it take to make its way down to Hessle? On some high tides the water level at Hessle Haven is only about half a metre from overtopping the wall. And if it does breach the wall it would rapidly reach Clive Sullivan Way (the A63).

Having said that, the Humber is vast compared to the Ouse, so if Hessle does get flooded, the rain must have been of biblical proportions in North Yorkshire.

10th Survey Regiment

I've an interesting morning tomorrow. I'll start the day off doing Decontamination training but then I'm popping out to see John Ainsworth, the Chairman of Hull Normandy Veterans Association. John was part of 10th Survey Regiment in the Normandy Campaign - and he's never really understood where he'd been during his time in Normandy. I had a lengthy conversation with him last weekend and have being researching where his Troop were. He was part of Y Troop, and his best friend was part of X Troop. Sadly his friend was killed on 21st July 1944 and is buried alongside a lone South African pilot in the churchyard at Bonnebosq in Upper Normandy. Part of John's desire for knowledge is to find out how his friend was killed.

P A McGrady grave Bonnebosq, Normandy

John had been led to believe he'd landed on Gold Beach, but his memories fly against this, as he described being driven through a large area covered in gliders that had been used for troop reinforcements. The drop zones were around Caen and Ranville, thus pointing to a landing on Sword Beach. He also recounts being part of Operation Epsom, so I think (up to now) that he may have been north of Cheux.

I thought I'd have to go down to Kew to the National Archives to try and trace X and Y Troops histories, but out of the blue came a call. One of the previous travellers on one of our tours had been in touch with John. His own father had been in the 10th Survey Regiment!!! And he's in possession of a copy of the Regimental War Diary. So we're meeting up tomorrow - you never know . . .

Medical emergencies in Dental Practice

A day in the life of a dental practice manager!

Started off the morning with even more training with our new starter member of staff, Sam. Sam has joined us as a trainee dental nurse and I've spent the week doing her induction. Today's focus was on medical emergencies, so we've being going through CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), the treatment of medical emergencies in dental practice and the use of AEDs (automatic defibrillators).

I've never seen the point of merely spouting jargon at anyone, so we weaved our way around the science behind many of the emergencies that may befall a patient in a dental surgery. For instance, if you understand why a diabetic patient may have a hypoglycaemic event, and the difference from a hyperglycaemic event, then you'll hopefully be better placed to intercept one in the making. We covered all sorts of events today, from epilepsy to cardiac events, choking, anaphylaxis and so on ..... going through the drugs kit as we considered each type of emergency.

We also own our own Resus Anne, so we practiced chest compressions and use of a bag and mask before the use of a defibrillator and placement of pads.

Ultimately though, avoiding medical emergencies is about knowing your patient, using a good up to date medical history and being observant. If you know your patient's well, you get a feel for when they're "not themselves" - and it's amazing how many medical problems you can sort out early.

Having passed Sam over to Leanne, I could then concentrate on sorting out our washing machine which had developed an intermittent leak. I solved it - a new one is being delivered tomorrow from Hanson Electrical, Willerby Road, Hull. Nice people, excellent customer service.

How to dispose of old medication in dental practice

Dental Practices carry emergency equipment in case of medical problems arising. We carry oxygen (we have two separate kits, so we have a back up), an automatic defibrillator (AED) and an emergency drugs kit.

The drugs kit is actually a little bit frustrating, because we're continually buying in drugs that never get used, run to their use by dates and have to be disposed of. The problem is that they can't just be thrown away. They've got to be disposed of properly - and sometimes in very specific ways. When ours reach the end of their shelf life, if their more complicated to use than just a tablet, we use them for our staff to practice the set up and then their disposed of in our Pharmisharps bins which are then collected by Cannon Hygiene for proper disposal. Their disposal is logged and doubly countersigned to make sure there's no abuse.

Some of the drugs need a step further and have to be "denatured" - they've got to be made into state where there's absolutely no way they could be used. We use something called a DOOM or CODE kit. It's clever stuff. A tub with powder in - add the medication to be disposed of, add warm water and shake. 15 minutes later it's set into a solid mass of blue stuff. No chance of abuse! Then it goes in the clinical waste. Sorted!

How to dispose of buccal midazolam

British Association of Dental Nurses

More dental nurse training today for our new member of staff ! We've had a really productive day with vulnerable adult training (100% in the test, very impressed!). Then a re run of handwash training - the idea being to do this every day this week to get the routine instilled.

And then fire training! I've a PowerPoint of Fire training we ran through plus multiple videos. Then rattling onto basic decontamination and radiation training. Tomorrow I reckon we'll do basic CPR, resuscitation, defibrillator and medical emergencies training. Then Sam gets the afternoon off before going off to York College tomorrow night for the dental nurse training course.

I even had chance to sign Sam up for the British Association of Dental Nurses and get my car seat fixed at D H Barr in Gipsyville, Hull - along with a trip to ASDA on Hessle Road for bits and bobs for the practice.

Staff training

I've just finished typing up the first day of training of our new member of staff, Sam. I blogged earlier a little bit about it, but having transcribed our notes from today I'm amazed how much we got through! Far more than I touched on in my earlier blog.

Our aim with dental nurse training has always been to get nurses to such a high standard that they sail through finals. At this rate Sam should be able to sit finals before Christmas! (She can't really - it's a two year course). If you're going to have staff, have good ones.

Dental Nurse training

We had a new member of staff start with us today! Sam has joined us as a trainee dental nurse.

It's all very complicated - to become a dental nurse you need a place on a training course - BUT, to get on a course you need a placement. Trying to crack that cycle is a major problem for people wanting to become dental nurses. Note that I said people. Just because dental nurses have traditionally been female doesn't make it exclusive to women. If you're a "bloke" and want to be a dental nurse, get applying!

Sam was pleased to have got to the end of the day and already have a certificate to put in her training file. After our formal induction (we use the ACAS standard format) we've moved onto specifically dental items that just HAVE to be done. So, by the end of today she's already passed her Child Protection training. Tomorrow she'll do her Vulnerable Adult training and gain another certificate. Then we'll do Fire training and initial CPR training. I reckon that by the time we've finished her induction will take a week. There's plenty of basics that you just don't need to know about if you're not in dentistry, such as HTM01-05 (decontamination).

I bet she's tired tonight! (I am!)

Hull University return

I popped to see Kevin Moore at Fotoworx on Hessle Road this morning to set up some new photographs for the practice walls and then round and about doing jobs. Kevin's abilities with rapid manipulation of photographs are remarkable. I've left him a selection of photographs I've taken and we'll see which turn out the best.

Hull's roads were utter chaos this morning, mainly because of students moving into Hull University. Remarkably it'd spun out to even Ferensway in the centre of Hull where taxi drivers were blocking the road to get into Hull Railway Station. It's good to see student life returning to Hull and all the economic benefits it brings to the city.

If nothing else the bar owners will be pleased!

Blogging about Blogging

It's interesting watching my own blogs evolve over the months. I've gone through phases of ranting about life, CQC registration and dentistry. I've slagged people off! I've complimented people that have impressed me. Sadly, there are more people who irritate than impress. I've wittered on about rubbish. I've talked about some of the tripe I've talked about with patients. And I've tried to give some insight into life from my perspective.

I also suspect I've given your average psychologist enough evidence to have me detained under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act!

But the thing that touches me most is my references to Hull Normandy Veterans. I started going to Normandy in 2005, and it changed my life. It gave me perspective about the sacrifices made by the previous generation and how fortunate my own generation have been. Since I became involved with Hull NVA, I've had the privilege of being asked to research stories about which I knew nothing, but which uncovered immeasurable bravery and sacrifice - the likes of which I can't even imagine.

So, I'd like to take this opportunity to express how fortunate I am to have met these men, or their widows and that I've been been fortunate to be allowed to share their lives.

Hull Normandy Veterans Association at Gold Beach

Erosion of the Holderness Coast

Just watching Look North and an article about coastal erosion of the Holderness Coast. I've got to say I'm dumbfounded by people who are surprised when their houses fall into the North Sea. It's been going on for millenia. The boulder clay that was dumped by glaciers in the last ice age just can't bear up to the effects of the sea. Add in man's attempts to stop erosion by building groynes and defences to try to protect the likes of Withernsea and Hornsea and the long shore drift of material from Flamborough Head is disturbed. That's why Spurn Point is currently on its way to becoming an island - because it's being starved of material that's being held back to protect the area around the gas terminal further up the coast.

Maybe the way to deal with this is to teach householders about the lost villages, such as Ravenser, that have long been lost into the North Sea and the inexorable chipping away of the Holderness Coast. Here's a link to a good article about Ravenser. Does the solution lie in teaching Local History?

Painting Stuart Graham's surgery

Outside the practice painting finished, so I've been painting Stuart Graham's surgery this morning. That's his surgery here at Hesslewood Lodge, not where he used to work on Northgate in Cottingham! Stuart's had a few days off, so perfect timing to get in there and paint woodwork with Johnstone's Antibacterial gloss. It freshens things up and means that the surfaces automatically kill bugs. Genius.

Chateau de la Londe, Normandie

I've finally finished painting the outside of the practice. And I have to say it looks good. We are so fortunate to work here. There can't be a better looking dental practice in Hull, East Yorkshire or beyond. The landscaping helps, but I think we'll have a rejig in the near future - maybe cut things back and replant. We'll see.

It did take a long time to finish the detailing today. I seem to have spent half the day chatting to patients about all sorts of random stuff. We've covered everything from Vitamin D Deficiency, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sjogrens Syndrome to Autism and the concept of people who are currently labelled as disabled being "rebranded" as differently abled - for instance, we all know of a blind piano tuner.  We covered the D Day landings and Ken Watson, who won the Legion D'Honneur on D Day. Then Ray Lord, who fought amongst other places at Chateau de la Londe, near Caen. Ray Lord at Chateau de la Londe, NormandyAdd into the mix helping parents with choices of University course, teaching how to avoid getting hammered on mobile costs for students trying to get hold of Student Finance England and sorting out failed Sonicare toothbrushes and it all ends up an eclectic mix - we even covered marathon running and the time I dyed my hair blonde! Not bad for a dental practice in a backwater like Hull.

We made cups of Nespresso coffee half the day and just rejoiced in the joy of people we'd known over 20 years and grown up or old together. We have something very special here and it's obvious.

And to cap it all, Hull City beat Leeds United last night to give them their best start to the season in 19 years. Get in!

East Yorkshire Vitamin D Deficiency

It's not uncommon for people to be Vitamin D deficient nowadays. Indeed, one of our local GPs has taken a great interest in this and is uncovering cases you'd never have found without looking for them. We need sunlight to generate Vitamin D, but we spend too much time indoors and when we're outside we cover ourselves in sun cream. Taking Vitamin D as a supplement can be risky, because it can cause kidney stones if overdone, and too much sunlight also does damage. So we walk a line that probably fits into the old adage "a little bit of everything does you good".

We top up our Vitamin D levels by being in the sun during the summer and then basically live on stocks until next spring. Where we are in Hull, in East Yorkshire is pretty much at the northern extreme of where we can accumulate enough sunlight to keep those stocks up. I saw a statement recently that said when our shadow is longer than our height the sun is too low to generate Vitamin D. And that's about now in East Yorkshire.

I got sent this on Facebook the other night - is this the solution?

playing outside is good for you

Two of everything you should have?

Long gone are the days when recruitment for dental nurses was along the lines of "two of everything you should have?" - not very inclusive! I remember the days when a trainee dental nurse who made it to the end of the week was a senior member of staff!

I've spent the day making sure that all the paperwork was in place for our new apprentice dental nurse who starts next week. I popped around to see her tonight with documentation and warned her that her induction will probably take a week!

Saving Private Ryan

Sometimes we have equipment that has a use other than that for which it was intended. We have a video microscope for showing patients their own plaque running about.

BUT! I'm one of those people who can't help but think outside the box. There was a study published earlier this year about the composition of sand on Omaha Beach in Normandy. Omaha Beach was the infamous beach where 2000 young Americans perished on D Day. You may know it from the opening scenes of the movie, Saving Private Ryan. (The actual name of the family was Niland - and there were four brothers, not three).Dog Red sector, Omaha Beach, Normandy

On my recent battlefields tour of Normandy I collected sand from both Utah Beach and Omaha Beach. So, you know what I'll be doing this week! Yup! Sticking it under the microscope.

Hull to Scunthorpe bus

I actually caught a bus this morning! I know, how unusual! I dropped my car off for some work and had to get back to work, so I caught the 350 Scunthorpe Bus.

Nice chap driving, sunny day. Everybody's happy!

There, but for the Grace of God, go I

A productive day! Just about finished painting the outside of the practice - just a bit of detailing to do. Then, I've been working at the DVD of the battlefields tour of Normandy I did last week with Hull Normandy Veterans Association. I've finished the video part of it. (Just the ten hours work on it today). Next thing is to graft a soundtrack over the video. I reckon I'll start with a bit of Eisenhower and Montgomery then graft in contemporary music and speech.

It's the least I can do for men who made such sacrifices for us.

There. but for the Grace of God, go I.

Bayeux War Cemetery

Saturday and Sunday morning spent painting the practice (for a change). Just a little detailing then it's all finished. Very satisfying.

Mmm - what next? I reckon I'll crack on with the DVD record of the Normandy trip I did last week with Hull's Normandy Veterans Association.

Here's Bayeux war cemetery with Bayeux cathedral in the distance through early morning mist.

Bayeux war cemetery and Bayeux Cathedral

The Circle of Life

Karma - or what goes around comes around. Or twists of fate. Whatever you call it.

I was out and about around Hull with my daughter doing jobs this afternoon. You know the kind of thing - Hessle Road for various bits, Johnstone's paint merchant on Witty Street, then up to Newland Avenue for alteration of staff uniforms. I was supposed to double back down Willerby Road, but was "away with the fairies" and drove down Beverley Road, Hull and Clive Sullivan Way instead. We were just getting to turn off near Sainsburys in Hessle, when we came across a car crawling up the slip road with hazard lights on. Getting alongside, it was apparent that the it had a horribly flat tyre and a rather desperate looking lady inside.

So we got her to somewhere safe and then I changed the wheel for her. Then she went on her way to pick her son up from school. Somebody else had done exactly the same for my daughter a few weeks ago in Staines (Sorry -Staines upon Thames!).

Circle closed!


Kate Middleton Topless

I can't really say I'm a Royalist, but is there really any necessity to splash topless pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge around the world? Surely people should be allowed some privacy?

Madhur Jaffrey's Chicken Mughlai

A mixed day!

Five hours painting the practice - I will finish the outside of the practice eventually! Then down Hessle Road organising uniform embroidery for staff. I'd highly recommend the company we use - Image safetywear - nice people and excellent quality combined with sensible prices.

Then sending parcels from the post office next to our gold post box (painted gold to commemorate Luke Campbell's gold medal). Home to cook Madhur Jaffrey's Chicken Mughlai for tea and then updated our webpage about mouth ulcers. Chuck in making coffee for patients and being front of house and it's been a satisfying day.

Corsodyl shortage

It appears there's a shortage of Corsodyl!

Corsodyl is the branded version of chlorhexidine gluconate, which is used by dentists as a mouthwash and as a gel. They're great for gum disease and mouth ulcers. BUT, it appears that Glaxo Smith Klein have problems with supply. We're guessing that their plant has failed quality tests and the MHRA have pulled the plug on the product. Nobody at GSK would own up when I first rang them (fifteen minutes on hold before I abandoned the first call) and then e-mailed them today. All I could find out was that there'll be no Corsodyl or Corsodyl Gel available until October 2nd at the earliest.

There isn't a generic version of Corsodyl Gel, but there is a generic version of Corsodyl mouthwash. You can buy it as chlorhexidine mouthwash. I found some in Home Bargains on Hessle Road, Hull this morning for the princely sum of £1.59 - so I bought all their stock!

It beggars belief that a company the size of Glaxo Smith Klein can allow a product as important to dentistry as Corsodyl to be unavailable. They could do with reading their own flannel on their website about their corporate ethic! If you're sad enough you can read it by following this link.

Am I supposed to report this as an adverse event because it affects patient care?

Rant over!


When we have drugs that reach the end of their shelf life (usually from our emergency kit) it feels utterly criminal to just dispose of them - via our clinical waste contractors. So, the ones that need to be built up or opened in some fancy way before they can be used we use for practice. Common sense says that if you've never needed to use a drug in an emergency situation you'll likely be all fingers and thumbs setting it up.

So when it came to disposal of our last batch of Glucagon (used to bring diabetics out of a hypo) I'd set the kit aside for Chris Ziaras to practice drawing it up before disposal. Then Chris takes this thinking a step further. He'd a 17 year old Type I Diabetic in for routine treatment who carries Glucagon, but has never used it. So he taught her and her parents how to prepare it for use, using the kit we were disposing of.


I'm back!!!

Well, it's been commented that the practice has been a bit quiet for the last week! Probably a great deal to with me being in Normandy with Hull's Normandy Veterans!

Mind you, I had to hit the ground running this morning - we're hoping to start a new member of staff in the near future so I've got to make sure the process is correct. All going fine until last night I caught a rat in the loft at home! If you're in Hessle and need a vermin man - ring John Ketley on 01482 646104 or 07838 137147. He disposed of a wasps nest at the same time as laying bait for any more of the (not so) little critters. And he's a nice man!

Hull Normandy Veterans Tour

It's going to be a busy one today - got to get the place set up so that it runs hassle free for the rest of the week and then scoot off to Hull Travel Interchange to collect Hull Normandy Veterans ready to take them to Normandy for a battlefields tour.

Cameras charged. Video gear charged. Portable amplifier and iPods charged. Guide books and maps sorted out. How on earth am I going to get all this stuff to the coach?

Colour coded mop heads

Am I really shopping for colour coded mop heads at 9:50pm?

If you're looking - here's where to find them

Tales of the unexpected

Well, that wasn't the day I expected! Dental equipment engineers all over the place! So, two autoclaves fully stripped and serviced, one washer disinfector worked on and four x-ray machines serviced. Very satisfying, if I'm honest.

Then, I seem to spend my life replacing batteries in things, infra red soap dispensers in particular. Replaced one of the foot operating mechanisms on a bin (replacing the one that was fitted by a dental company that was labelled
on the web as "not suitable for a dental surgery"!!)

We're also going to take on an apprentice dental nurse in the near future, so a good chunk of today has been set aside to getting the paper work in place. Off to her house now with bits and bobs.

Then I'd better get myself organised for taking the Hull Normandy Veterans to Normandy tomorrow


Monday morning - so it's paperwork!

But it's also things like changing magazines in the waiting areas and having a staff meeting. Let's see how it goes, may do audit as well....

Flowers and Veterans

Narcissus and Daffodil bulbs planted. Pansies planted  - that should brighten up the practice!

In the meantime I'm getting prepared for taking Hull Normandy Veterans to Normandy on Tuesday. I pay to go as a helper (!) - so we're taking a tour of 35 to visit the D Day beaches. My job, apart from being general dogsbody, is navigating, photography and videoing of the tour, a bit of dodgy French translation and all the weird and wonderful stuff it takes to care for a group of people in their late 80s and 90s.

I've spent part of today setting up age appropriate music for an iPod, then we can use the busker's amplifier I bought earlier this year to keep them entertained. The most important use though will be for playing the Last Post and Reveille for a wreath laying ceremony. Sad - but important.

Humber Bridge Farmers Market

Off to the Humber Bridge Farmers Market in a minute - interesting just for a look around. And for the first time in ages they've got decent weather!

Then I think we'll replant the flowers under the sign outside the practice....


Guess what I'll be doing today? More of the same!

Painting Hesslewood Lodge Dental Practice

Kings Cross Station

Remember when Kings Cross Station was a crime ridden hole populated by muggers and sex workers? Well look at it now! I was stunned when I passed through it the other day!

Kings Cross Station

Ford Mondeo fuel gauge

I feel very flattered.

We had a call this morning from a patient whose car had broken down about half a mile from the practice. They'd called us because the car had stopped at the exit of a traffic light controlled crossroads and they needed to push it out of the way - and the first person they thought of was me!

I was up a ladder at the time, so I dropped my paintbrush and dived in the car. We pushed the car to somewhere safe and then I brought them back to the practice. Their new Ford Mondeo was telling them it had enough petrol for 27 miles - it certainly didn't sound like it! I popped home and picked up the fuel can I use for garden machinery and I ran them back to the car. A gallon of fuel later and up she fired!

Moral of the story - don't trust the Fuel Gauge in your Mondeo!



One of life's great pleasures - listening to your kids laugh. I'm fortunate to have kids who laugh and laugh!

Great smile

Rush Hour 3

Three hours typing maths planning for my wife. The things you do! Now my kids are howling laughing at Rush Hour 3. Chris Tucker is a genius!

I'm just hoping to stop aching from running up and down the scaffolding like a chimpanzee while painting the outside of the practice. I'm getting too old for this!

And how many people become your friend when you own some scaffolding? !!

London 2012 Paralympic Games

If there was ever a chance for the lives of disabled people to be changed, it's the Paralympics. Hopefully the London 2012 Paralympic Games will prove to the narrow minded in society how diverse and able many disabled people are.

So here's to the Paralympic Games - long may they be successful

Up a ladder

More maintenance today! Painting, painting and more painting!

That and what would normally be the "Monday" checks - but today, I'm not going to do them. Somebody else will. (Staff training). Let's make sure that if I'm not in, the checks can still be done well.

Here we go - up a ladder!!

Google your name

My daughter is currently Googling our names and telling us what other people on the planet have the same names as us. Apparently my wife is also a 14 year old beauty queen from Michigan! That matches up nicely with my other job as the first black Chief Constable in Britain - how do we fit it all in?

Try it - it's great fun!

Foot operated bins

A really good idea used in the dental industry is foot operated bins. Basically the bin hides in a slide out cupboard and is opened by pushing a lever with your foot. This releases a metal catch and a spring pushed the bin out. Great idea - I'm amazed that it's not been incorporated as standard in kitchens.

One of ours had failed because the plastic housing had broken, so I've been online this afternoon to buy a new one. The dental supplies industry is summed up by the identical item to the broken one being labelled as not being suitable for heavy use - such as in a dental surgery!

If you want one like I've just bought, follow this link

Prince Harry and the Lion

Apparently Prince Harry has sent a message to his Gran .... about that Lion I won in Vegas.......!

The Generation Game

Off to the recycling place in a minute with a trailer full of junk from home. You know the type of stuff - rusty barbeque, bottles of fat drained off food, old electronic bits, lumps of rotten timber .... like an alternative Generation Game. I reckon I'll be able to put 100% of the stuff I'm taking for recycling, even down to the cooking oil. Satisfyingly eco!

Then I've got to work out how to load up my scaffolding ready for an assault on the upstairs windows of the practice. (Is it sad that I own scaffolding?) It's got to be better than sitting in a queue of traffic trying to get to some tourist attraction on August Bank Holiday.


Neil Armstrong RIP

Neil Armstrong passed away this weekend. One of my son's friends met him a couple of years ago. He was impressed by him, saying said he was a humble man with quiet humility. Not what you'd have expected for the first man to step on the moon. 

Neil's family have posted a Tweet asking for us all to look up, think of Neil and wink at the moon. I think it's the least we could do.


Low fat Chili con Carne

Chili con Carne for tea. Here's a really simple way to reduce the calorie content. Put the minced beef in the pan first to start cooking, instead of the onion. That way the fat naturally present in the minced beef is used to cook the onions instead of adding some form of oil to start!


We're doomed!

Back to the hum drum. Light fittings stripped and cleaned then onto paperwork. Nothing quite like book keeping to put you to sleep!

That and logging the disposal of drugs. It saddens me that month by month we dispose of perfectly good emergency drugs because they've reached their use by date. Surely somebody could set up a system to take drugs a month before their use by date and put them into somewhere they'll definitely get used before the end date?

And one of the drugs we keep in stock in case of severe epilepsy has to be "denatured" before disposal. It's done using something called a "DOOM" kit!

BS EN 131 ladders

Normal service is resumed - rain! That saves me from another day wielding a brush outside the practice, at least for now. Having said that I did get all the black painting done yesterday, from gates to gutters. I even brought half the paint home with me on my face and arms!

So it's back indoors today. A little bit of painting (well, you have to don't you) and then I'm going to take every light fitting in the practice down and clean them. So it'll be out with the BS EN 131 ladders - those yellow ones that electricians use - and the colour coded cleaning materials and away we go!


Hairy Bikers pies - the result!

Well, here they are. Straight out of the oven - Hairy Bikers Pies.

 Very successful!

Hairy Bikers Pies

Hairy Bikers pies

Hairy Bikers pies for tea. They certainly looked good when they went in the oven. Now the discussion is along the lines of one tin of beans or two - between four. Two, obviously!

Naked Billiards

So Prince Harry has been photographed with his bits out!

Are we all bothered? No!

He's up there with Boris Johnson - people who can do a job well and still have a good time. How many 27 year old men would pass up on the chance to play naked Billiards? Just asking? !!!!


Banana and Caramel Chunk cake

More painting today. Outside maintenance well under way now as I've finished the downstairs and made a start on the gutters. It'd be a pity to let a building as pretty as ours get tatty.

Well, scrubbing the black paint off my belly and arms was a bit sore! Particularly when I'd been wading through the wild brambles we're growing at the side of the practice. Thinking on, I should have picked some to go with the banana and caramel chunk cake I took in for the staff this morning. I didn't get a look in - I bet it's all gone!


Celebrity Masterchef at Royal Holloway

I flick on the TV and there's good old Gareth Gates on Celebrity Masterchef. That wasn't the surprise though. The surprise was that it was at Royal Holloway, where my daughter did her degree. I'm still stunned every time I see the place.

royal holloway

Decorators' houses

Nice to get outside painting all day today. Drainpipes fettled out, loose slate on roof replaced, more windows painted and doors rubbed down ready for tomorrow. I do find it funny how many patients come and give me stick when I'm up a ladder. People do appreciate seeing you getting stuck in.
I could have booked up for months ahead decorating the outside of people's houses.


Illegal Tooth Whitening

At last, somebody hit our website this morning trying to work out how many prosecutions there had been for illegal tooth whitening. Going by the English used, I'd say it wasn't a dentist - so maybe the gas is finally being turned up under illegal tooth whiteners.

There's a reason that dentists train for five years - working in someone's mouth isn't something to learn in a weekend.

Would you let a hairdresser/beauty therapist/nurse do a filling on you?

Mulberry Harbour

Productive day! After Monday's checks, we got all sorts done. Garden maintenance, shopping, even sorting out a driving instructor for someone. Add in some explanations about Mulberry Harbours for a patient who helped assemble the temporary harbours in Normandy after D Day and it was a nicely mixed day.

Managed to get half of the windows downstairs glossed and door frames too - hopefully finish them all tomorrow. Then it'll be out with the scaffolding to paint the areas higher up.


Kodak ink cartridge costs

Monday morning! Checklists to work through first and then I think I'll make a start on painting the window frames.

Then out for some shopping.

It amazes me how many batteries the Schulke soap and alcohol gel dispensers get through. And Kodak printers may have cheaper ink cartridges than Hewlett Packard inkjets but they don't handle fast printing well, so you're forced to use a heavier ink loading - so per sheet they're no cheaper.

Eid mubarak!

Today is Eid, the end of Ramadan for the Islamic faith. As a practice we have lots of patients and friends who are celebrating Eid today.

So Eid mubarak! We wish you well and a prosperous year!

From all at Hesslewood

Hull City win first game of season

Grass cut, mower serviced. And Hull City win their first league game of the season!


Live like a Lord on Pauper's wages

I went to Lidl yesterday afternoon. "Lidl!", I hear you cry. Yes, Lidl.

I used to be lazy. I'd slavishly go to Sainsbury's in Hessle for my shopping, but slowly became more and more disenchanted with the service they provided. It would always take forever to escape the place. You know the feeling, it's all going nicely at the tills, so the close one! I gather it's Corporate policy (!). Next thing they try to do is force you to the self checkout. I don't do self checkout. Why should I put someone else out of a job to line the pockets of Sainsbury's shareholders?

Then my wife took me to Aldi. OK, I'll admit I'd become a bit of a supermarket snob, so I was adamant I wouldn't buy anything in there. I came out with a pint of milk and a changed attitude.

Think about it - Lidl and Aldi put the same stock in all their stores. If the chorizo were rubbish it wouldn't sell in Spain. If the Parma ham were rubbish it wouldn't sell in Italy - and so on. So shelve your prejudices about supermarkets and go have a look. Don't just wander around. Look carefully. You'll be amazed at how interesting you can make your diet and how cheaply you can do it. And have a good look in the freezers. They leave Sainsbury's standing. You can live like a Lord on Pauper's wages.

And the staff are patently a lot happier than in Sainsbury's!


Dental equipment servicing

Servicing! Three dental chairs and associated bits and bobs serviced today. Suction pump worked on. And then one of our washer disinfectors serviced. Something had got past the filters and wedged in the pump yesterday, causing it to fail. Just as well we have two machines in case of a failure!

Even had chance to strip a filing cabinet and strengthen it up with new rivets!

Then home to make the Hairy Bikers Jalfrezi! Very nice.


Daylight Robbery

Over the years we've not bothered with an advert in Yellow Pages (Colour Pages) but last year we decided to give it a go. It was a complete waste of time and money, particularly as the advert was so poorly printed. So this year we decided to revert to type and not bother. I'd someone from Kingston communications hounding me to do an advert - for £540! Imagine my surprise when I get a bill for the said £540 and discover I have an advert! A very poor one at that.

Now they tell me it's because I'm on a rolling contract (first I heard about it). Because I said it verbally and didn't put it in writing that I didn't want an advert, I've got one whether I like it or not!

Daylight Robbery or Sharp Practice?


Vision On?

Here you are young man! I told you I'd put your artwork on the Blog!

Dental waiting room toys

A level results

Well done all those youngsters who got their desired grades at A Level. And those who didn't - chill! One door closes and another one opens. Things happen for a reason. You'll look back on the change in direction and think "I'm pleased that happened".

In what is now year 12 was going to be an architect, even looking around architecture schools, then I went to a new dentist and had an epiphany. Do I regret not being an architect? No. Do I still have an interest in Architecture? Yes.

You'll be fine.


Luke Campbell homecoming photo

Luke Campbell Olympic homecoming

Audits and lots of them

Busy day!

Auditted our documentation of disinfection of laboratory work this morning. Then auditted the way we document instruments after being washer disinfected. Slipped in a further chunk of audit on laboratory prescription sheet and then onto other things!

Powerpoint for training staff about HTM01-05 documentation well under way and then trawled through every instrument in the building to check our use by dates. Plenty of banter with patients including how to dry out a mobile phone (uncooked dried rice) and what to do if your sinuses play up, particularly ways to clear them without resorting to antibiotics.

Then popped to see Luke Campbell come home with his Olympic Gold Medal.

(If you'd like a copy of the Powerpoint, drop me a line!)


Welcome Home Hull's Olympians

Welcome home Hull's Olympians! good to see Luke Campbell come home with is Gold Medal tonight.

And good to see Alex Smith after his first Olympic final in the hammer.


Gold Post Boxes

Enough said! Well done Luke Campbell on winning Olympic Gold

Luke Campbell gold post box

Isopharm Sentry autoclave logbooks

Aaaargh! Who on earth decided that the logbooks for HTM01-05 should be written up in the way that Isopharm Sentry want? Is it REALLY necessary to transfer all the data from an SD card on paper logs in such detail? Particularly when the Eschmann engineers is asking why on earth we're writing all of that down! The whole point in multisystem self testing is that the machine looks after itself and if it fails a cycle it aborts. At what point do we stop trusting the machine? How do we know that the data is accurate to the 0.1 degree Celcius that is logged?

We need to get a grip on this - it's killing dentistry.


Patient feedback

After finishing our Monday checks I emptied our comments boxes this morning. I never cease to be humbled by the feedback we get. It really is a great privilege to work with patients who really appreciate what we do.

And the patient who asked if we could contact him by e-mail as he's usually on an oil rig somewhere in the middle of the North Sea - no problem!


Luke Campbell Gold medallist stamps

Now that was a successful Olympics!

Looking forward to getting my hands on some Luke Campbell stamps today and posting them in the Gold letter box on Hessle Road.

I may even use the gold telephone box - if I can remember how to use one!


Lick of paint

Practice front door painted this morning. First coat of Midnight Blue, then a good rub down with wet and dry and another coat later in the week. Three coats of enamel on the door knocker applied and I'll repolish all the metalwork tomorrow. We must have one of the most magnificent front doors to a dental practice, so it's worth the time and effort. They certainly knew how to make a front door 172 years ago!


Sorry seems to be the hardest word

Well, Apple Meadowhall turned up the gas yesterday. I turned up at the front of the store with my MacBook and iPad and was immediately handed over to the senior manager, who took ownership and sorted my problems. iPad changed for a new one and Macbook repaired properly this time.

And he did something that society could benefit a great deal for - he said sorry. And that made all the difference in the world.

Well done!


iPad3 poor network reception

iPad3 wiped clean and factory reset done. That's ready to give them back tomorrow at Apple Meadowhall. Just like everybody else is doing. In case you didn't know, the aerials are dodgy, so the network drops out.

Just thought you might need to know! If yours keeps dropping out - take it back!


Come on Luke Campbell!!

Come on Luke Campbell! It's good to see a Hull lad in the final of the Olympic Boxing.

I'm gagging to go out and post something in a gold postbox with an Olympic Gold Medal Winner's stamp on it!!

Come on Luke!


I find it hilarious how many medals Yorkshire athletes have won, compared to countries like Australia. And it's funny how they're in typical Yorkshire sports like ..... scrapping! It'll be shin kicking in clogs and whippet racing next!

Hairy Dieters

I'm in the process of getting some weight off. You know the feeling - a subtle increase in calorie intake with a subtle decrease in your activity and before you know it you've gained half a stone. it doesn't help when your wife has a pottery fetish and keeps buying even bigger plates!

I bought the Hairy Bikers' new book, the Hairy Dieters. I also bought some caterer's plates - the size that plates ought to be. Couple this up with the BBC series and it all makes sense. I'd heartily recommend the Cajun chicken (very easy) and the lasagne using sheets of leek instead of pasta. So in two weeks of trying I've lost over half a stone - and enjoyed it.

You CAN do it - don't think diet, think change of lifestyle.


Get your scruffy gear on!

Nice day again. Summer has finally arrived! So I've got chance to work outside. Time to refresh the yellow paint demarcating our parking spaces - Health and Safety! Then I think I'll make a start on painting the outside window frames.

Out with the tools and get your scruffy gear on!


Rites of Passage

There are some things that could be considered a rite of passage. You know the kind of thing that demarcates the line between childhood and becoming an adult. Your first kiss with Sharon from Whitby. Your first pint of Tetley bitter. Passing your driving test. And so on . . . . . 

We'd changed a filing cabinet a while ago because the lock had failed and we have to have lockable cabinets for Confidentiality and Data Protection. But the back of one of the drawers fell out yesterday afternoon, because it was poorly assembled. I went out last night to find a replacement but everything available was as flimsy as the existing cabinet. It struck me I may be better repairing the existing one.

So this morning I took it to bits. So much for ISO9000 and Quality Assurance systems!

Thank God I came top in metalwork in Year 9 (as it's now known). Out came the pop rivetting gun (sad that I own one) and I basically finished the drawer as it was supposed to be in the first place. That'll never fall to bits again! While I was at it, I beefed up the rivetting on the rest of the drawers.

So the question is - Is owning and being able to use a pop rivetter a rite of passage for a bloke? Bizarrely, my daughter knew what it was and how to use it!


Apple customer service

Just the half hour on the phone to Apple this morning - how far do they want to push the poor customer service?


Apple Meadowhall customer service

Having spent an interminable five hours waiting for Apple in Meadowhall to replace the cracked outer shell of my MacBook last Friday I find they've made a hash of it.

We have an iPad3 which keeps dropping the network. They're good if close to the wireless router but they receive far less signal than the earlier versions as you move away - so they drop out all the time. It turns out that loads of them do because there's an "issue" with the aerials (they're rubbish). In an attempt to stop it, I went out tonight and bought a Powerline network extender. It extends your network via your electrical supply. Clever.


To set up you plug on adaptor into your router (easy) then plug the other into your computer while you set it up (also easy). Then you put the set up CD into your laptop and do a quick set up. (Theoretically easy)

BUT NOT - if Apple have left the CD drive on your MacBook disabled by leaving something physically jamming it internally. The CD is now heavily scratched from whatever is inside the drive. Also not easy (impossible) when your MacBook won't accept the network cable because they've trashed the socket when working on your machine.

Looks like a trip to Meadowhall again to throw both the MacBook and the iPad at them. Why are people obsessed with Apple? Their customer service is a joke.


HTM01-05 logbooks

Sunny day and lots to do. I have to say I'm becoming increasing frustrated with the documentation we pile up about decontamination and HTM01-05.

(HTM01-05 is all about sterilisation and prevention of cross infection)

I've just bought in the new version of the log books we use for our autoclaves and I've got to say it's getting stupid. I'm recording the same stuff over and over again but in subtly different ways in a paper logbook that isn't well designed. (You listening ISL?) The ironic thing is that if our machines were old and potentially more likely to not do the job properly, then half the stuff I'm writing down I wouldn't have to record! I wouldn't have to record it because the machines wouldn't be capable of self checking and recording digitally. So a machine that's designed to multply self test and abort if something isn't 100% right seems to be trusted less that a machine that's 20 years old and on its last legs!

So the harder you try to get it right, the harder it becomes to get it right. If you do the bare minimum, then the bare minimum of documentation is acceptable!

Ah well, at least I've had fun (!) writing policies covering which camera equipment is allowed in the practice this morning to cross reference between various other policies.

At least this is the view I've got! I'm sitting out on our decking, with my laptop hooked up to our wireless network. With a cup of tea!

Working outdoors at Hesslewood Lodge

Sensitive teeth due to fruit

The website's busy this morning! Interestingly, everyone seems to have sensitive teeth today. The question is - have people been drawn to the site specifically because of the way it's written or are there loads of people out there with acid erosion due to their diets? In my experience it's the latter.


Winterbourne View

I'm deeply saddened by the report about Winterbourne View. I did five years as a Senior Dental Officer for adults with Mental Health issues and adults with Severe and Profound Learning Difficulties, particularly with Challenging Behaviour. It was by far the most enjoyable dentistry I ever did. I've been bitten, scratched, spat on, chased around the surgery, stalked, threatened . . . . .  And I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I've been hugged by a young man who used to break porcelain toilets with his bare hands (that did feel really dangerous) and I've been brought close to tears by a man who wrote on his medical history form that his only problem with his heart was that it was broken.

Winterbourne View is a product of Corporates providing care. Where profit comes first - long before the people who are supposedly being cared for. Why do we allow organisations like this to run services?



Nice day! Busy, but very satisfying. Excellent feedback from patients both verbal and written just keeps coming. It's nice to see patients who haven't been for a while just tune into Chris Ziaras and say he continues the tradition of care we're established over the last 24 years. And it's nice to see the number of patients who are new to the practice persistently climbing.

So what did we cover today? Metal on metal hip replacements and the implications of chromium release into the bloodstream. Enlarged upper labial fraenum (that bit of skin that attaches your upper lip between your upper front teeth) and what to do with it on an 18 month old child - nice to be able to help a GP friend with that one. You leave it alone and come back to it when the child is older. Much older. Removing the skin to allow the teeth to close together is not usually needed - I reckon I can count the cases that I've seen that needed it on one hand. (Removing it is called a fraenectomy, or frenectomy if you're American). We hunted down the meaning of somebody's surname, while tying it in with the Spanish Armada and the shipwrecks on the west coast of Ireland and the Viking origins of Duyputren's contracture, the condition that makes your fingers curl up and unable to straighten without surgical intervention.

Add in some IT and doing favours for patients and it was a good day. How on earth I had to time to fit in a meeting with the Hull Normandy Veterans I don't know.

Just need to win the Euromillions tonight!


Hull Normandy Veterans

Tuesday! Best get my finger out today. Rattle through the paperwork then I've got a meeting with Hull Normandy Veterans about their upcoming trip to Normandy and the D Day beaches.


Take the autism test

Ever wondered why you do some of the things you do? Or your spouse/kids do? Maybe you're on the Autistic Spectrum.

Follow this link

and it'll direct you to a test devised by, of all people, Sacha Baron-Cohen's (Borat's) brother.

It may just give you some pointers


Trustwave Compliance

Health and Safety Policy and Statement rewritten and updated. HSE have a nice neat set of templates on their website - just type in the search box. Then signed us up for verification of our compliance with data protection when our credit/debit card machines are used - don't want somebody lifting your financial data, do we?

So we're now Trustwave accredited.

Full mouth rehabilitation

Chris Ziaras has just finished a full mouth rehabilitation on a patient. I've got to say I'm impressed. It's not just the technical exercise of drilling teeth. It's the artistry, the picture in your head that leads to the end result. I suppose it's the leap of faith that you lead the patient through. It turned out very well and the patient has teeth that look real, so it's a fine result.

Well done Chris!


High School Musical Top Trumps

Monday! Nice mellow start to the day - some Mondays are chaotic at 9am, but not this one!

I've got two teenage lads sitting opposite me playing High School Musical Top trumps at the moment! Hilarious!


Andy Murray, Olympic champion

Andy Murray won! That might just exorcise the ghost of his Wimbledon loss.

Well done Andy!

Will Andy Murray win?

Will Andy Murray win this afternoon? It's so stressful that I've been upstairs building an Ikea chest of Drawers! I've managed to assemble it with relatively little trauma, even with numb hands! Mind you, I'll pay the price tomorrow. Such is life.

To quote Oscar Pistorius (the Blade Runner) -

 “You are not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have.”


Tooth whitening

Stop Press .........

A dentist in Hull has been prosecuted for supplying dental whitening materials to a patient. He was prosecuted along with the company he worked for and the suppliers of the material, who are one of the big players in Britain. The headline read that he'd supplied materials at 100x the safe strength.

The legal position on whitening has dragged on for many years. There are two EU directives  governing the use of peroxides in medicine and dentistry. The Medical Directive says you can use peroxide at any strength in the care of a patient. The Cosmetic directive says that the maximum strength allowed is 0.1%.

In Europe, dental whitening is classed as being under the Medical Directive. For some bizarre reason, many years ago, somebody decided that in Britain it would come under the Cosmetic Directive, therefore setting the limit at 0.1% peroxide. Now the General Dental Council, the people who govern dentistry in the UK are cool with dentists whitening teeth. They don't see a problem with it. But Trading Standards do, so the whitening of teeth in the UK has been policed by your local Trading Standards officer. There are undoubtedly many dental treatment cases where simply whitening teeth is the technique in the best interests of the patient. It could radically improve the appearance of the teeth without destroying them to cover them in porcelain, so the patient has the improvement with far less risk.

BUT, every now and then there's a flare up such as this one. I think the dentist had supplied a peroxide gel at 10% That's aimed at use in the surgery rather than to take home. If that's the case I'm not surprised the material bleached the patient's clothes. Many of the materials offered to dentists are carbamide peroxide based, this comes as a gel that breaks down to be a third of the percentage. So 10% carbamide peroxide gel gives about 3.3% peroxide.

I had the Colgate rep in to see me, the day before the article appeared in the newspaper. He was trying to sell me peroxide gel at 6%. I didn't buy. Now why would a giant the size of Colgate get involved in something that was deemed to be illegal? They wouldn't.

So we have this anomaly, which will hopefully be sorted out in the near future by a recent change in EU law. In the meantime, dental whitening has been driven underground by cases such as this. This means that the ever increasing number of illegal tooth whiteners that have popped up in hairdressers, beauty parlours and even shopping malls grows. This is where the danger lies. - Whitening of teeth done by people who aren't dentists, such as beauty therapists and hairdressers is utterly illegal. It's described as the illegal practice of dentistry. It's illegal because you need to know what you're doing and it takes five years full time training as a dentist to acquire the knowledge necessary to do it safely. Imagine bathing a tooth in a peroxide gel if it's got a hole in it! Your hairdresser won't do a mouth examination before they start. And they won't check whether you've got oral cancer.


There are endless adverts in the local papers and on the web for illegal tooth whitening, and yet Trading Standards just don't prosecute. I don't understand why. They're a real danger to the public. In recent years, Trading Standards in Hull have operated under the name Public Protection - maybe their time would be better spent prosecuting the hairdressers and even a local nurse offering whitening.That would be Public Protection.

Overpromised and Underdelivered

Poor quality service from Apple, Sheffield today. Very poor. There's the old adage about underpromise and overdeliver. Sorry Apple, you did the opposite today.

I'd been told that my Macbook case would be replaced for free. (It was falling to bits just like everybody else's have). On arrival, at the appointment I'd booked, I was told that part of it was free, but the part where a lump had actually fallen off I would have to pay for. Cost £59 plus VAT. Why not quote a figure including VAT? It would have been nice to have been told accurately at the beginning.

"It'll be between two and two and a half hours - we'll ring you when it's ready". So we shot up to Leeds, to Ikea and got back to Sheffield after two hours. After three hours we were told it wasn't ready and we would be called.

After FIVE hours we went in the store to be told it had been finished ten minutes.

Hanging about for hours in Meadowhall when you don't want to shop is soul destroying.

Overpromised and Underdelivered.


Macbook case cracking


It's been a funny week as far as computers go. Fortunately I can deal with almost anything, so I've upgraded my Macbook hard drive this week (very easy) and reloaded all the information I needed. (Old hard drive stored in safe - Information Governance!)

The problem that remains with it now is that the case is gradually falling to bits! It turns out that everybody else's Macbooks are falling apart as well, so I'm off to Sheffield to the Apple Store today to get it replaced for free. I just hope they're quick on turn around.

So, if you've got a Macbook and the shell is flaking or cracking, give Apple a call.


Patient feedback

Time draw our latest competition! Trying to extract feedback from patients is a bit of a nightmare. So we set up a prize draw to give patients an incentive to fill in one of our suggestions sheets. Two prizes - one random one for filling in a sheet and the second for the best suggestion in this draw.


Welch Civils

Welch Civils are laying superfast fibre optic cables for broadband in our area at the moment. By the look of it they'll be right outside our practice tomorrow so I popped out to try to get some idea of when we might be disrupted, so we could plan ahead. Nice people. Really helpful. And as they've been working their way around the area I've been impressed with how neat a job they've done. Minimum disruption and surfaces relaid very neatly.

So here it is - well done Welch Civils!


Handwash technique audit

Rain again :-(

Never mind, plenty to do!

Monthly staff meeting today - handwash technique auditing (we'll video that as evidence) and general administrative stuff. That should keep us busy - as if we need it!


Moving mountains

What do you do when you get a phone call asking to borrow your Multimodal Communication file? (Multimodal communication is sign language or similar). Particularly on one of those days when your laptop is poorly so you can't e-mail the information. And what if the request is from someone who's going to welcome a group of school leavers with learning difficulties in a couple of hours and the person who had the Makaton file has left and taken it with them?

Answer - get in the car and do a 20 mile circuit to deliver the file. And pronto.

And what do you do when a fellow practitioner's practice call you asking if you can bail them out because he's having some well earned time off and someone has toothache? And that someone is going on holiday tomorrow lunchtime. You get the patient in and sort the problem.

You move mountains, that's what you do.


Replace a Macbook hard drive

A heavy afternoon's Information Technology!

I ran into major troubles with my Macbook yesterday. It just wouldn't "play the game". And no matter what I did with it, it just wouldn't improve. The hard drive thought it was full, no matter how much data I deleted. For some reason I cannot fathom, Apple fit inappropriately small hard drives in their kit, possibly to encourage you to use their Cloud storage. I managed to find an upgraded hard drive for £59.99 - 500Gb instead of 120Gb - from the nice people at KRCS in Hull and fitted the new drive myself. That meant I could do a clean installation of all the software. Hard drive replacement took five minutes, just 7 small screws and the new drive push fitted into place. It's taken me a total of four hours (mostly waiting for software to load) and everything's up and running very nicely.

And best of all, the Blackberry software that had embedded itself in the Macbook and was impossible to remove has gone!! All in all a job worth doing.


The risk of tattoos

Monday! And a word of warning.

I was told today of a young man who'd had a tattoo. Unremarkable, I hear you say. BUT, this young man's tattoo was done by an unlicensed tattoist. The problem is that the needle punctures the skin, so if it's carrying anything it shouldn't, then you'll catch it. So this naive young man has put himself at risk of Hepatitis A, B, C and so on. He's also put himself at risk of HIV. So now he faces a year of urgent vaccines and blood tests to see if he's caught anything nasty.

If you're going to have a tattoo, find someone who's registered. And even then ask the awkward questions. Is the needle disposable? Can you see your own personal needle being opened before your eyes? How is the kit sterilised. They should be sterilising using an autoclave, just as we do. When was it serviced last? Can they prove it? When my wife had her ears pieced I did just that. If the tattooist or piercer doesn't like it, then you have your answer - walk away.

Get it wrong and it could seriously harm you. So choose carefully.

And by the way, tattooing without registration is punishable with a jail sentence.


Power napping

Painting done, anti-burglar paint refreshed, wasps nest dealt with, weedkiller on lawn, bit of a nap and now changing our cross infection procedures to take our monitoring of processes one step further. It never stops - apart from a nap!


Get painting!

Has summer 2012 finally settled in? I do hope so.

At last, chance to get outside and get painting!


The Great War

28th July 1914 - start of the Great War. An utter waste of human life

Olympics 2012

Here we go! Two weeks of Olympics - but actually it's longer - don't forget the Paralympics.

To here's to a successful and peaceful Olympics 2012 - please don't let the idiots ruin it.


Dental Practice For Sale in Cottingham

I see that the practice in Cottingham that Stuart Graham used to own has gone up for sale. I can't help but think it's symptomatic of the malaise that has hit dentistry in England. Three dentists in Hull suffered sudden deaths 18 months ago. One of my colleagues had a heart attack recently and one has completely disappeared!  And these are just the people I know close by.

It's sad to see a generation of dentists fall by the wayside.

On a lighter note - the Olympics start today!


Who should run a dental practice?

Occasionally dentists get stuck with a job that's an absolute nightmare. It's usually a tooth that has to be extracted and it just doesn't "play the game". It shatters and acts like a piece of glass stuck in concrete. It has to be teased out with a combination of technique and sheer tenacity. Chris Ziaras had one of those this morning. I couldn't help but think back to my days as a practitioner and those occasional jobs stick with you. As a patient you can be inclined to think that it's all in a day's work, but "those jobs" really do stick with a practitioner for life. Believe it or not, you remember every single one - forever. And I'm including medics in that statement.

The beauty of my relationship with our dentists, Chris Ziaras and Stuart Graham, is that I lived that life for 27 years. Understanding the pressures is easy. So giving Chris a hug this morning was completely normal!

Who should run a dental practice?  A Venture Capitalist hundreds or even thousands of miles away? Or people in the practice who have contact with the patients and the people actually performing the care?


Don't they grow up?

Normal day - is there ever a normal day in this place? We'd a waiting room full of kids this afternoon and half of them weren't even our patients. It was nice to be reunited with a patient I'd not seen since she was a wee child who'd come to see us with her grandparents - she'd grown up very well! And with a nice set of teeth!


Wine and biscuits

The blog's been a bit quiet because I've had a few days off. So now it's normal service! It was good to come back and find the practice just ticking along normally.

But the most satisfying parts of today were talking to patients who were new to the practice. The health of a practice is surely measurable by how many new patients come to a practice. If you think about it, even if a practice retains all of its patients, it will naturally shrink as people die or move to the far end of the planet. (Even many of those stay with us - no, not the moribund ones!)

So, it was nice to see an extremely nervous new patient who'd had toothache for a year cured. Stuart Graham cured of both her fear of dentists and her pain at one visit (!!) - we'd followed her up later in the day and the relief had been instant. Faith restored at one visit.

It was also nice to see treatment plans put in place for two unrelated children to sort out not just their dental fitness but their dignity. It's far too easy for dentists to get tied up in slapping fluoride varnish on teeth to conform with a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) and completely forget that it's a child your dealing with. So, children with poorly arranged teeth that detrimentally affect their facial profile, can be sorted - if you time it right. And children with badly damaged front teeth DO get picked on by their peers - so we have a duty to repair them to a high standard.

I suppose I'm asking a big question here. Is our duty to tick boxes for KPIs? Or is it to treat the whole person? Anyone who was bullied as a child because of a perceived "difference" in their appearance will have no difficulty answering that one. Dental health is surely everything from a lack of decay and having healthy gums, right through to a set of teeth that we're happy to live with. I don't mean an obsession with the perfect smile, but I do mean a smile that we're happy to live our lives with.

Maybe that explains the wine and biscuits that appeared on reception this afternoon!


Royal Holloway University of London

Royal Holloway - you've probably never heard of it. Either that, or you think it's a women's prison.

My daughter graduated with a BSc in Geography from there yesterday - hence the couple of days without blogs.
royal holloway

One of the lecturers commented that Royal Holloway is the
best University that you've never heard of! It's in the top 100 of 6000 Universities worldwide. Everyone else is seeing their number of applications drop where they are seeing theirs rise dramatically. So they must be doing something right!

Royal Holloway University of London

My daughter has had a superb experience their, finished with an excellent quality degree and loves it so much she's going back to do a Masters.

So, if you're wondering whether Royal Holloway may be the place for you, here's a recommendation! For a sense of camaraderie and knowing that your kids will be happy in their student years, we can't fault it. The place is simply stunning.

Deep cleaning

Deep cleaning! There's nothing like a good strip down of a surgery for being able to stand back and think - "I did that!" Meanwhile your female members of staff go on about Fifty Shades of Grey! Then it's on with training all afternoon - that should take their minds off it!


Taking ownership

And today's weather forecast is . . . . .  rain. There's a surprise.

So I suppose we'd better use the indoor time constructively. Job for today - training - and lots of it! I'm making sure that if I'm away, that the place continues to function properly (part of business continuity) so the checks and quality assurance that I do have to be done by somebody else. If I'm lucky I might even be able to get someone to "take ownership" of some of it!



It was nice to sit for three-quarters of an hour this afternoon with Leanne and one of our patients, discussing  between us the ins and outs of diet. It's a minefield that's very difficult to negotiate if you're trying lead a healthy lifestyle. So, as well as talking and drawing I pointed him to the pages on our website about sensitivity and diet.

Sensitive teeth

Diet and tooth decay

Acid in food and drinks

It's happened to us all - when we've nodded and pretended to understand, but didn't really! We have to understand that people learn in different ways. Some people need to listen, some to see, some to get in there with their hands. So having resources that target different facets of learning is important. Remember that lesson at school that went straight over your head? That's because you weren't "accessed" as a learner.

Try this! A multiple intelligence test. It tells you what type of learner you are. It's a quick, simple test that can be taken in various languages and gives you a visual chart of what type of learner you are. It may well help you direct your method of learning, so that you can learn things easier. The site has explanations of the different variations of "smart" - very interesting and can be quite an eye opener.

I'm visual and kinaesthetic. So if you direct me somewhere I make a picture of the route in my head. But if I want to know how something works, I pull it to bits! And sometimes they go back together as well!


Bless you Ralph

Sadly. I spent part of this morning at a funeral for a patient we'd known over 20 years. He was a good man and that was apparent from the turnout. His wife and I shared a hug (the world is under hugged) and I made sure that she knew where to ring if she needed anything. I'm pleased to say my presence in the congregation made a difference for his wife and daughters, so the time out was worth every minute.

Bless you Ralph.

Friday afternoon

Rain - again! I suppose it makes wading through e-mail from the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) all the more exciting. Why do they save up large batches and send them out late on Friday afternoon?



Finally - it's stopped raining! The birds are out. Our local mouse that lives on the patio is out and even the foxes are out. There's only one thing to do to celebrate this. You've guessed it - go meet Dave and Kath and go for a pint down in Hessle!

Do life's pleasures have to be complex or expensive? No they don't. Wildlife, simple chat and people watching - who needs seven star holidays to feel like they're enjoying themselves? Mind you, it would be nice to try one to find out! Keep doing those Euromillions tickets. Ha!


Morgan Freeman Vs Heisenberg

This is me thinking out aloud!

I'm wrestling with an intellectual problem at the moment. Yesterday's Daily Telegraph had a front page article about a hospital who'd been criticised for the way that they talked to people who are in the latter years of their lives. Was the terminology used actually just geographically local terms of respect and deference and misinterpreted by the inspector? (Get on a bus in Sheffield and when you thank the driver he or she will call you "Love" as routine, irrespective of your gender). Now, whether it was part of a much wider criticism of the hospital I don't know - I think the answer is probably.

Equality and diversity are critical to the way that we function as a society and are an integral part of "fairness".  Here's where the philosophical argument starts - I'm mindful of Morgan Freeman, in his famous interview about Black History Month.  If you haven't clicked on the link and watched the short video of him being interviewed, please do so. His argument is very powerful - I believe he has a point, a major point. And I think his argument may extrapolate to many other if not all forms of discrimination. Why can't we just regard each other as people in the greater sense?

There's an interesting argument about measurement of subatomic particles called Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Basically, Heisenberg proposed that trying to measure the speed and direction of something really tiny interferes with it and changes the speed and direction. So just trying to measure it stops you being able to measure it!! There are undoubtedly people who have to be forced to enshrine equality, but is there a tipping point at which asking the question actually recreates or reinforces the problem? That is, when a person, group of people or a society have actually become intellectually sophisticated enough should we "let it drop"? And what is that tipping point?

So we put the two together. Has Morgan Freeman encapsulated on a macroscopic scale, the Heisenberg principle in quantum physics? We MUST be mindful of each other's cultural differences and taboos, so as not to offend. BUT does the fact that we continually try to raise and measure the subject cause the problem in the first place?

So is the ultimate measurement of our care of patients about the kindness we extend to them? I experienced this earlier in the week when my wife's mum was ill. I stood at the rear of the ambulance as they clerked her in and observed the interaction with interest. They were brilliant with her - I would give them 100%,  but would they have been criticised for the way they spoke with her - I do hope not.


Local Interest

Will Andy Murray win today? Or will he succumb to the Henman Curse? Nobody knows, but it would be good to see some local interest in the final for once! And I can't even play tennis!



More painting! Luckily I've used all my antibacterial paint up so at least I have to break to go to the paint merchants. Next jobs at the practice - fit a new bookcase in reception and we're stripping the place right back for a "deep clean". Very satisfying. There's nothing quite like re-organising all the drawers and cupboards. If nothing else it stops you accumulating rubbish that dental suppliers dump on you!

One of our hygienists asked me about a problem her husband is having with his Hotmail account. It's sending Spam to everyone he knows. Oh, dear - probably been hijacked. If it's happened to you, follow this link.

In addition to your usual antivirus software (you do have some, don't you?) I use Malwarebytes. It does seem to pick up little bits that our other antivirus program doesn't occasionally spot. You can download it for free here. Scroll down the page to the link at the lower left  for the free downolad. It's very easy to use and, if you've been lax with your security may give you a surprise at some of the stuff it finds!

I'm just waiting for our scheduled Antivirus and Anti-malware checks to finish on our reception computer,  then I'm going to put my waterproofs on and escape for a bit. That is if I can get the Ark started! Rain! Will it ever stop?



I talked to someone who has had an ameloblastoma this afternoon. Very unlucky to get one. I'm pretty sure I've come across a patient who's had one in the dim and distant past but the statistics I've found give an incidence in this particular group of patients (white caucasian females) as about 1 in 2 million. So you're every unlucky if you get one.

So what's an ameloblastoma? It's a tumour of the cells that made the enamel of the tooth, so it's described as an odontogenic tumour. (odonto - tooth, genic - made). They're regarded as "locally invasive". so they're not malignant in the normal sense (cancer - the crab, legs extend out everywhere) but they do spread locally so a wide margin needs to be removed to make sure they have the best chance of permanently being eradicated.

To read more and (if you're not squeamish) - follow this link -  but be warned if you click on the pictures.


Granny's recovering at our house

Bit of a panic today. We were phoned at 7:30 this morning by my wife's mum who was ill. So we raced across town to find a very unwell lady. We elected to phone NHS direct for advice as it was obvious this wasn't a 999 call, but what do you do if it's obvious that lugging her down the stairs is a bad idea? The process was slow but as momentum picked up things really started to move. We were asked to call her GP Dr Melville, at Faith House on Beverley Road, Hull. Swift, polite efficient service and an ambulance was called to take her to hospital for assessment.

At this point I'm going to compliment the two ambulance men (am I allowed to say men? Or do I really have to call them Personnel or Operatives or whatever) who came to her from our local ambulance service. They were very kind  - in addition to all the other paperwork and so on that they have to complete. If you're from the CQC and you're reading this, please mark them up for a commendation.

The positive experience continued at Hull Royal Infirmary in the Acute Assessment Unit.

So well done all round!

(Granny's recovering at our house now - her medication has been slashed by two thirds so her heart can actually pump enough blood to keep her upright!)


What on earth is a Dental Spa?

We get on really well with our patients. Really well! The Mickey taking, both giving and taking,  is one of the joys of our practice. It's often a surprise for patients who are new to the practice when they're welcomed with open arms. But for some people it's utterly natural. Just like being at home. So the nice lady who was booked in as a new patient with Stuart Graham this afternoon was noticeably surprised at the service she got from us. She'd been to a "Dental Spa" in recent times, but we obviously pushed buttons that they didn't. I'll admit that I had a nosey at their website - it was very swish but large chunks of the site didn't work!

So, what on earth is a Dental Spa? I did find a definition on the internet..... are you ready for this?
"Dental Spa - Combines root canals with massage, aromatherapy, etc. A California invention; are you surprised?"  - not my words!

I know I'm being naughty here, but what are we doing? Dentistry or flannel?


Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Hull

Interesting day!

More auditing of our communication with laboratories - I know it's sad! I've taught somebody how to set up a website and optimise it for Google, while forging links with out local sweet shop about dental health. I've been shopping for even more Health and Safety kit and I've helped a practice manger from a Doctor's practice with some information about Care Quality Commission registration. Along the way, I managed to drop in a DVD of the last Normandy Veterans tour of the D Day beaches to one of our local children's homes (it WAS asked for!) and then had a lengthy chat with a lovely lady who'd come to us as a new patient who was enthusing about us being welcoming.  I've also managed to fit in computer maintenance and buy doughnuts for the staff!

Meanwhile, there was a great deal of dentistry going on in the building!

Now I'm going home to cook tea - I made Pulled Pork the other night. It was loosely based on a Heston Blumenthal recipe and it was amazing. Christos ate the lot this lunchtime! I'll post the recipe later


Austin Healey Sprite

I was asked this morning where the best place to buy a Mark 1 Austin Healey Sprite would be. That's a Frogeyed Sprite to the uninitiated.

Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite
Now come on - you want one now, don't you?

But why ask me? Possibly because, I used to drive a Mark III Sprite, EFX189D. That's the version that the MG Midget looks like. Five years of motoring bliss for next to no outlay. The other patient in the waiting room at the time reminisced about having a Powder Blue one.........good times!


Mobile Phone Signal Problems

This morning was taken up with making sure that the paperwork given to us by laboratories is compliant with the Medical Devices Directive. There's a definite set of rules that need to be followed and every lab has their own way of trying to interpret them! So I've been teasing my way through Part 10 of the MDD to make sure that we nail it. Shouldn't take too much to sort out!

So then it was over to sorting out people's lives as usual. So the patient who has just moved to Harrogate was pleased I could help her out with her mobile phone problems. She's been having all sorts of hassle because the signal on Vodafone isn't up to it. So what do you do in this situation? You need information about the claimed signal where you live.

First - go to the Ofcom website and see what your mobile provider claims the signal is supposed to me. In this case the provider said there should be good signal inside the house - not halfway down the garden.

Next - have a read at the Ofcom guide on how to improve your signal

Then - check where the masts are. Enter your postcode into the search box and then zoom out or in until blue markers pop up. If you click on them it tells you which company owns that mast. You can e-mail the provider and ask them whether the local mast is under repair, but it can take ten days for a reply. Or Google for engineering works on mobile masts in your area. It's not uncommon for a transmitter to be taken down for a few days.

In this case, she probably needs something called a femtocell, it's a miniature mobile transmitter, a bit like a wireless router. Vodafone Sure Signal is just that. She's lucky that her provider is Vodafone because the other providers are a bit behind on this one. I personally know the feeling - I live in a mobile phone black hole and Orange were utterly useless, and I have to say O2 aren't much better.

Hope that helps!


Definition of disability

Oscar Pistorius - you know him, the man who wears blades instead of having feet. You know - the really quick bloke from the Olympics - and when I say quick, I mean reeaallllyy quick.

Here's a quote from him -  “You are not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have.”

I don't want you to tell me the things you CAN'T do - get out there, find the things you CAN do -  quite possibly the things that I can't do - and then come and tell me. Then I'll be impressed. And I don't care how obscure the things you CAN do are.


EU Medical Devices Directive

I've had a fascinating evening critiquing the laboratory prescription sheets we use to order the likes of crowns and dentures. I know it's deeply sad!

The method in the madness is that we have to make sure that any "Medical Device" we fit for a patient has to comply with the EU Medical Devices Directive as enforced by the MHRA. The aim is to make sure that crowns, dentures and so on are made of the right materials by people who know what they're doing in places that are suitable. Who knew you could encapsulate an EU directive in one sentence?

Anyway - I'm going to have to nitpick one of the laboratories tomorrow!


Health education for children

I did try to get some clerical work done today, but things just don't work out sometimes! The hygienist's morning was taken up with a family of our Saudi Arabian patients. Lovely kids - very well brought up. We had the waiting room to ourselves so we had a lengthy discussion with mum and the older kids about gum disease, mouth cancer and the relationship with smoking.

The kids are concerned about their dad smoking, so even in their early teens it seems a great time to educate. We covered the risks of smoking and the risks of the likes of alcohol and betel nut. Also the cultural differences between countries and how the various nations find different ways to cause themselves to have mouth cancer. They took all in - we often don't give kids credit for their intelligence, even when very young.

To go to our page about mouth cancer follow this link.
To go to our page about gum disease follow this link

Having said all that, I did fit in our Monday checks, ordering drugs, quality assurance on sterilisation, fitted a doorhandle, set up the format for lab work audit, had a meeting with our DPAS Rep and other stuff I can't even remember! (It's my age!)


Dental Staff Fire training DVD

Got the grass cut this morning. It's been growing like mad since our gardener treated it with weed and feed so it needed a cut. Then after a trip to B&Q (other DIY stores are available!) I got stuck into the fire training PowerPoint I've been making, so we have a permanent, easily accessible resource for our staff. Quick upload to our staff online CPD system, put it on DVD as well and away we go! If you'd like a personally customised copy, give me a call!

I know it's after 11 on a Sunday Night but I'm just going to set up a laboratory sheet audit before bed!


Humber Bridge Farmers' Market

At last the Humber Bridge Farmer's Market has a dry day. I don't know how on earth they manage to run an outdoor market when all it ever seems to do is rain on the first Sunday of every month!


Fire safety

After our fire safety training on Thursday, I decided I would make a PowerPoint presentation for revision for our staff in the future. While trawling the web for suitable video footage I came across one of the pieces of footage used in the training. To say it demonstrates the danger of Christmas trees and fire safety in general is an understatement! Click this link to watch it


Streamline problems

It turns out out the news this morning that if you have a Streamline terminal for collecting card payments that NatWest may have not paid you because of their banking cock up. Best go check the account then!!!


Introspection is the future

I dropped some work off to one of the labs who do work for us today. It's very interesting discussing the problems dental technicians have. Along with all the other rubbish they have to put up with, they seem to have problems with incomplete or unintelligible paperwork from many of their practitioners.

So I'm going to set up a collaborative audit for them this weekend to make sure the documentation we provide for them is spot on. Sadly, they feel they aren't able to roll this out across all their practitioners because they fear losing custom!

We all need to be introspective about what we do if we're going to improve and a
fter all it can only help us to work together better.



Very impressed with their customer service! And they even have humour!


Graciousness in defeat

I do like to see an underdog win. I suppose it's an inherently British thing because we persistently lose at everything! Or maybe there's more to it than that. Maybe we like to see a level playing field.

So, it was good to see Rafa Nadal's graciousness in defeat last night. I suppose we can extrapolate it to the handshake between Martin McGuinness and the Queen. The Northern Irish problem can't be allowed to go on forever and a little forgiveness and graciousness goes a long way.

(That's the profound stuff out of the way for the day)



I had a panic this morning. I couldn't get into our website and I couldn't contact the host. I'll admit I feared they'd gone under.

That's when the Business Continuity Plan kicks in. The idea of the plan is to have structures in place in case of virtually any disaster you can be unfortunate enough to suffer. We've done well over the last 24 years, we've lost almost no surgery time to unfortunate events but an event like this morning does sharpen the mind!

So here's a tip - in addition to backing up websites with the usual back ups, I use a program called Sitesucker. It's a free download and very easy to use. I simply typed the web address into the search box and in a minute it had downloaded the entire site, which I then burnt to disc. Time taken about five minutes in total.


Hello again!

I haven't been able to access the website for a couple of days so no blogs!

You missed all the fun. We've had staff meetings and fire training. And then there's all the exciting stuff like going through diet diaries for patients trying to identify the potential problems.


Long Tailed Tits

Busy day on the website yesterday - I must be getting something right!

I'm being watch through the window by a Chaffinch as I type this. We were complimented by a patient yesterday on our wildlife. She said she'd been sitting in her car in the car park watching the world go by and was amazed at the biodiversity we have. She was particularly pleased to see our population of Long Tailed Tits.

Our gardens are quite deliberately set up as they are. Some areas are neat and tidy. Some is laid to shrubs. But a good proportion is either left or planted to be wildlife friendly. It sounds like we're succeeding.


Chicken Biryani

Enjoyable day. Once I'd waded through the clinical waste audit it was time to sort out people's lives! It's considered normal in our practice to ask advice on everything from what to do if your post goes astray when it's been sent Special Delivery to how to change the eating habits of a 17 year old! I managed to fit in reading to a very bright three year old and make Nespresso (with a hint of chocolate!) coffees for mums who really needed it! Throw in some routine maintenance and some shopping and it ends up being a busy day.

Made Chicken Biryani with chapatis for tea and next I'm trialling a custom made treatment planning card for vulnerable adults!


Clinical waste pre-acceptance re-audit

Thank God that's done! Now I can get on with the day!


Discrimination against dentists

Clinical waste pre-audit. Can somebody at the Environment Agency tell me why I'm sitting tonight filling in forms auditing the waste we produce? I'm whingeing because I have to do this every two years and pay good money for the privilege (and I do all the work!) BUT if we were a medical practice, disposing of much nastier stuff we would have to do this FIVE yearly! I can't see the logic in the difference. A sign of the power of the BMA?

Whinge over.


Marriage Guidance

Bit of an odd day. By the time I've got through a structured list of checks on a Monday morning, half the morning has gone. Having a structured list means that getting through all those checks is easier. The list of things to check gets ever longer. So documenting things as diverse as emergency kits, fire alarm and toilet alarm checks all the way to flushing of taps for legionella prevention and the light outputs of our light cure units (for setting white fillings) can all be done on one sheet!

After that lot it was time for doing accounts and then for a little diversity it was over to considering a patient's medical issues and a way forward for her. Add to that some marriage guidance counselling and a bit of joinery and I suppose you could say the day was "varied"!


Weather forecast

Sun's out. Rabbits are out. Birds are out and chirping away. Come on Summer, you can do it!

Bet it pours down again tomorrow.


Rigorous recruiting

Rigorous recruitment. Otherwise known as making sure that you recruit people who are safe to work with you.

We're looking to take on an Apprentice Dental Nurse, so that's what I've been doing all morning. First a job specification (what the job entails). Then a person specification (what you want out of a successful applicant) And then a carefully worded standardised application form.

At least I'm not the poor individual who has to fill the forms in!


Alan Turing

Today is Alan Turing's 100th Birthday. He's the man who cracked the Enigma Codes in WWII. He was persecuted for being homosexual and eventually took his own life by poisoning an apple and taking a bite. If you've ever wondered why the Apple Logo is an Apple with a bite out of it, look no further. It's a tribute to Alan Turing, the founder of computing.

I went with Hull Normandy Veterans to Bletchley Park a few weeks ago. This is where the codes were cracked. The feat was nothing short of astonishing. Can we lay a fair proportion of the defeat of the Nazis a the feet of Alan Turing? I think so. This monument is made of slate from the original roof of the Bletchley Park mansion. The craftsmanship is stunning.

Alan Turing slate monument at Bletchley Park

Bless you Tammy

I've driven not far off a thousand miles in a week. I never drive more than about ten miles in a day! No wonder I'm weary today. After yesterday's mileage I went to a wedding do for one of our patients. Very poignant. The bride's mum died a couple of years ago. We were there with them all the way through her mum's illness and it was good to see the family having good times.

So Bless You Tammy. Life's going well for your family.


Germany 4 Greece 2

Well done Greece - putting two past Germany. Not everyone can do that!


SAFEcic safeguarding course

The M1 was good going to the SAFEcic Safeguarding manager's course in Gaydon but a nightmare coming home! Such is life.

Excellent course - very thought provoking in places, especially the ex-policeman who did a lot of the day. Pity that I was the only one there from a dental practice (AGAIN!) even though they're the BDAs preferred provider of Safeguarding training.



Early start! Safeguarding managers course with SAFEcic today in Gaydon.

Have a nice day!


Get a life!

Cheap screws

How many millimetres of rain have we had on Midsummer's Day? Who knows? But plenty!

I spent the morning back and forth across the car park with an umbrella preventing hair frizz. Meanwhile I set about fitting the anti-contamination door handles I bought earlier in the week. I was told they take ten minutes to fit - "Whatever!" It's always annoying when you buy an expensive piece of kit and it's ruined by cheap and nasty screws. The screws wouldn't even cut through the backing plate. I ended up going to B&Q and buying a box of new screws and then proceeded to fit the doorhandles in the prescribed ten minutes. Very shortsighted on the part of the manufacturer.

Job for tomorrow - Safeguarding manager's course with SafeCIC at the National Motorcycle Museum, Gaydon. So that's going to be a 6:30am start. Then hurry home to attend the evening wedding do for a patient. Let the M1 be kind tomorrow!


The Darwin Awards

Rain for a change!

Today's list is - emergency drugs to pick up from pharmacy - then correct disposal of drugs going out of date,  clinical audit, fitting six sets of antibacterial doorhandles, working out specification on new computer systems and whatever else walks through the door!

That's if I can get out of my house - there's a man on a "cherry picker" cutting trees in the rain with a chainsaw. He's in a pair of knee length shorts. No face guards, no personal protective equipment whatsoever. I wonder if he's heard of the Darwin Awards? The Darwin Awards are "presented" each year to people who remove themselves from the gene pool by gross stupidity. I suspect we have a candidate outside my house as we speak!


Team teaching

Good evening's work. Powerpoint on decontamination of instruments done for our next staff meeting. It'll also come in very handy as part of induction for new staff. I reckon the best thing will be to pass over the reins for the next staff meeting to Le'Anne and the rest of the dental nurses - then they can teach the clinicians!


IT Department

Did my 21 year old daughter really just ask me how to do something on an iPad?

Mr Grumpy

Clinical waste - it does your head in! It shouldn't do if your contractor is up to steam but if they're not on the ball it's a hassle.

Very simple - Sign contract, pay money. Teach staff which bins to use and sign the Transfer Sheets when they're collected.... "Simples!"

Reality - Sign contract, pay double the money because paperwork has been done wrongly. Therefore complain. Teach staff to use approriate bins. Complain about terrible design of one of bins and frame it stands in. Contractor doesn't collect bins when contracted to and doesn't leave a spare bin in case of system breakdown. So complain. Representative arrives to sort out problems. 40 minute meeting and the rep goes away to try sort things out.

We'll wait and see.


Back with a more cheerful blog in a bit!

Done in!

It's been a long day - 490 miles in a van to pick my daughter from University near London, but dropping off our last washer disinfector to a practice in Cheltenham along the way. It's good to see it go to a good home! Nice people.

Even had time to pop into work and put up some new signs!

Tomorrow - Cannon Hygiene coming to see me about Clinical Waste contracts, AGAIN! Aaaargh!



Aids for Independent Living

Popped to Sainsburys (even though I thoroughly dislike the place) for some lunch and East Riding Council had a stand set up in the foyer for services to carers and advertising aids for Independent Living. I couldn't resist picking up a pile of leaflets - they'll be really handy in our waiting areas and as a stock. It's surprising how many people really don't know where to find things out, and if we're kitted out . . . . .

Some useful links

Carers UK -
Princess Royal Trust for Carers -
Caring about carers -
Caring for someone -
Older People's Information Database -


Antibacterial Doorhandles

Very satisfying morning - just bought antibacterial doorhandles for a load of our doors. Door handles are filthy, horrible places - all you need is the person before you to be less than hygienic and you've caught something from them, no matter how often the handle is disinfected.
And the handles can be elbow operated. You k ow what it's like trying to get through doors while carrying something?
antibacterial doorhandles

Michael McIntyre 2012 Tour

Just got back from my Father's Day treat of seeing Michael McIntyre at Hull New Theatre. Interestingly, he's test driving his set before the big gigs. So I suppose we're a focus group!

So if you're interested Michael - first half "quite funny". Not sure about the "pants down" routine - from a Safeguarding point of view a bit creepy. Second half, much funnier. Dentists routine could work up to being a classic. Just pleased he didn't ask if there were any dentists in the house as Chris Ziaras was two rows in front of us and he was in prime territory for being picked on!

On the whole a good show!


Come on Greece!

So Greece are through to the next round of the European Championship. Chris Ziaras was pleased as Punch last night. Now the next hurdle, Greece versus Germany. We have Chris Ziaras who is Greek in origin and Angie who is married to a German lad, so the rivalry begins here! (I do hope Greece win because they need anything they can get at the moment - I'm a great believer in fighting for the underdog, but don't tell Angie!)

I strongly suspect that Stuart Graham will have retired long before I'm blogging about Scotland in the European Championships. Sorry Stuart!


Green rabbits

Do I have a nap or watch the birds in the garden? At the moment we've got a selection of Great Tits, Chaffinches, Bullfinches, Robins and Blackbirds picking away at our bird food. We also have a resident family of rabbits that spend all day on our lawn. What I can't understand is this - why do animals that have evolved over millions of years have a brown coat for camouflage and then sit on a green lawn all day. Surely they should be green?


Astraphobia and brontophobia

Great thunderstorm! I do feel sorry for people who are frightened of thunder and lightning - astraphobia and brontophobia. I've walked out in electrical storms so many times - probably foolishly - and loved every one of them.

Is the best way to deal with your fears to confront them? I'm frightened of heights - so I ziplined off the deck of the Humber Bridge to Hessle foreshore. And I'm scared of wasps and the like, so I had a go at bee keeping. Both definitely helped me - even after being swarmed and stung! I was far more rational than the time I was cleaning out gutters and put my hand in a wasps' nest. What do you do if your frightened of wasps and heights? Jump off the roof! I did! I won't be doing that again in a hurry.

I'm absolutely convinced that almost all people who are terrified of dentists just haven't met the right dentist.
I was shocked to hear that someone who Chris Ziaras had treated in his last job had seen five different dentists in the year since he left! I don't understand how anyone can build up a relationship like that.


Cutting the grass

Will it ever stop raining? I understand that ground water was low in some areas, and that we need to back off our use of water but this is getting silly. I suppose I don't have to water the bog garden at the practice, but will I ever get chance to cut the grass again?


Good Morning, Sheffield!

Good Morning! Yes, YOU! Whoever you are in Sheffield!

I'm conscious that someone in Sheffield visits my website every day, if not multiple times a day.  It's really frustrating knowing that you're out there and I don't know why you visit us each day.

I'd love to hear from you. Drop me a line or ring me! Let's have a chat. You might be Joe Public learning about dentistry. You might be dental - if you are and the drivel I write helps you then let's have a chat - I don't bite!!

I did my degree in Sheffield - I loved my time there. I used to love sitting on the front seat of the bus down to Wincobank, looking through the louvres into the steel mills. Sadly, the mills are gone and a whole way of live has gone with it. The Full Monty movie summed it all up superbly. And I used to love sitting in the 'Hole in't Road' mentally measuring the angle between people's noses and upper lips to work out what the optimum angle is to give the best look - seriously!

My maternal grandmother originated in Sheffield. I started tracing my family history when I was a student (in 1983) and frustratingly found the house in Attercliffe she'd been born in had been demolished - just before I found it. It had left just the outside toilet standing. Such is life. In 2006, I took my son to Sheffield for a University interview, and whiled away the time hunting down a house my grandmother had been a servant in. Bizarrely, it was a hundred yards from Charles Clifford Dental Hospital, where I trained! I'd walked past it hundreds of times and had never known.


Chocolate Brownie recipe

I was chatting about our blog with a patient this afternoon. She'd lost an hour of her life in the drivel that I write. Thinking about it, I'm going to loosen up a bit on the stuff I write. There's only a certain amount you lot want to read about me running around in circles making sure we comply with legislation.

So how about a few recipes? My better half does a mean chocolate brownie - the recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson, but is nut free and uses milk chocolate instead of plain.



375g Stork margarine

375g Sainsburys milk chocolate

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

500g caster sugar

225g plain flour


Use a heavy based tin approximately 33 by 23 cm and 5 cm deep. Rub the tin with margarine and then line the tin with greaseproof paper folded at the corners.


Preheat oven to 180C / Gas mark 4


Melt the Stork and chocolate together in a large heavy-based pan. In a bowl beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla. Measure the flour into anther bowl.


When the chocolate mixture has melted, let it cool a bit before beating in the eggs and sugar. Then sieve in the flour and beat well with an electric whisk for a couple of minutes to make sure it is thoroughly mixed.


Scrape into the tin and then baked for about 25 minutes.  When it’s ready the top should be dried to a paler brown speckle, but the middle should be darker and gooey. Keep checking the brownies as they bake. Remember that they’ll keep cooking after you take them out of the oven.


Lift them out of the tin by the corners of the paper and start to cut into squares while hot. If you feel they really are too gooey, you can pop them back in the oven for another couple of minutes and they’ll still be okay. But make sure they don’t end up over cooked and dry.


These freeze very well.

Rolls Royce Top Trumps

Absolutely fascinating! One of our patients had a 3D scan done this morning - in a van in our car park!!

I couldn't resist the temptation to photograph the van as it was such a novel concept. Hilariously, one of our patients arrived in a Bentley Continental, only to find it had been 'trumped' by another patient in a Rolls Royce!!

Mobile Dental 3D scanner

EMS piezo scaler problems

So you're scaling away using your EMS peizo-electric scaler and when you stop the water supply keeps going, leaking everywhere. You phone the suppliers who want an arm and a leg for a new foot pedal. But do you know why it happened in the first place? Running a stool over the cable destroys the insulation and the low voltage cables short, causing a circuit which triggers the leak.
Prevention - don't run a stool over the cable. Cure - for a few pence and a few minutes of your time - call me!!


The results are in!

Finished the audit of Chris Ziaras's x-rays today. National target is minimum 90% graded 'A'. Chris achieved 99.35% A's!! The 0.65% was someone who kept wretching while having films taken, so they achieved a 'C'. Difficult to improve on!


Antiques roadtrip!

It was a surprise to see one of our patients on Antiques Roadtrip tonight. I have to say I admire him for extracting £85 out of one of the "experts" who then sold the item for £27.50. So much for expert!

This was after another of our patient's auction room was on the same program last week. Mind you I learned a valuable lesson - if you ever sell antiques, buy them in East Yorkshire and sell them in London!


Oxygen cylinder servicing

X-ray audits

More x-ray auditing today!

After that - who knows? Let's see what the day turns up!


A veritable cornucopia

A mixed bag today.

I relabelled all our taps today, so while I was at it I flushed every tap in the practice and rechecked all the water temperatures using our electronic thermometer and probe.

Got part way through x-ray audit today and the results are excellent. A dentist needs to hit a minimum of 90% of his or her x-rays of A Grade. It's looking like Chris Ziaras is way over that score! Good man! More tomorrow ..... collating Stuart Graham's results and then doing the statistical analysis.

I think the high point of my day has to be filling in a COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) assessment for an upgrade to one of our spillage kits. What on earth do you write in the box about what to do in case of a spillage? Tip the rest of the bag out? You have to laugh! I decided to rationalise the protocols for biohazard and mercury spillages - even though mercury spillages are virtually unknown nowadays in dentistry. It really is about time the industry moved on - does anyone use mercury in liquid form any more instead of in capsules? Yes - we do occasionally use amalgam!

Then Coltene Whaledent were on the phone about a fractured dental dam clamp we bought. We reported it as an Adverse Event to the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (the MHRA) and the process of investigation is underway because the clamp was four weeks old. Interesting to watch the process unfold - I'll be fascinated to see the report.


Go on - prove it!

New version of our Monday morning checklist done tonight. Doing things is one thing, but we've got to be able to prove to the CQC that we do them. So a ticklist is one way of recording the things we check, from oxygen and resuscitation equipment to toilet alarms!

As legionella is in the news at the moment, I thought I'd tweak our water quality assurance signage - you make things once and then a while down the road you look and think "I could improve that".  We have each sink labelled up with the temperature of water coming out of the tap and the date it was last flushed, but they were very bland, so I tweaked the wording and added a picture - well it has been a wet weekend!

And then even more printing tonight - I never seem to stop printing! Last of all - additional sheets for our Movement of Notes logs. Part and parcel of Information Governance, this allows us to identify where a set of notes is. Not having notes to hand can have a major impact on patient care. I experienced this myself a couple of years ago when waiting to have cervical spine surgery and my notes had been locked in a room that nobody on the ward had keys to! Luckily and unusually, both the surgeon and I knew exactly what was to be done, so a set of notes were "cobbled up". It's not really ideal though, is it?

Spillage kits

Another damp day. Not a great motivator!

So I've been updating some of our web pages then setting up some clinical audits for this week. Then there's all the exciting stuff - like the upgrade I located for our spillage kits that now needs a COSHH assessment. Why do I do this to myself? (!!)


Hull - twinned with New Orleans?

Rain! I think I might start building an Ark! At this point my wife has pointed out that I have already built one, a 30 footer for a school play. I did get some funny looks from the neighbours, particularly when they asked what I was building on the driveway.

It turned out to be prophetic when, in June 2007 Hull had 10,000 houses flooded. The media soon passed the city by and we were left to get on with it - just as the Blitz on Hull in WWII was suppressed. Hull was bombed worse than London, but you'd never know apart from the rotten post war architecture forced on the city.

After the floods, thousands of families were left living in caravans on their front gardens for months or even years. If our houses had been built of timber instead of brick I suspect the devastation would have rivaled New Orleans. At least Hull's houses were soggy but upright at the end of it all.


Get a life!

More painting!!! Plus some Information Governance and then some Health and Safety. What an interesting I lead!


Buy a water softener!

We've got our last washer disinfector on eBay at the moment. We destroyed four machines before we bought this one purely because the water in our area is so hard. Dental engineers have a nasty habit of arriving to fit and commission a washer disinfector and don't test the water hardness properly. So they say the water in your area is hard, turn the built in softener up and walk away. The problem is that the built in softeners are utterly useless and a few months down the road the machine fails due to limescale. At least they've made a profit on the chemicals that were supposedly softening the water.

The moral - buy a water softener. We did and we've had no problems whatsoever since. Be aware though that you shouldn't drink softened water unless it's been filtered because it has a raised sodium content from the salt it uses to recharge. This can give you high blood pressure if you drink a lot of it. Solution - either a separate supply to your drinking water tap or, as we've done, have a built in filter system.

And you save on detergents and all the limescale removers you have to buy.


Metal thefts in Hessle

When a truck turned up on our front lawn and started digging up the tourist information signs to the Humber Bridge and Hessle Foreshore I thought I'd better go out and check. We've had our roof stripped of lead four times at a cost of £20,000 and we can no longer get insurance on the roof - we now have pretend lead on the roof. I will admit to being keen on catching metal thieves.

They were men from East Riding of Yorkshire Council replacing the signs with new ones. I do find it ironic that there's money to tart up a couple of signs when there's no money to stop the accidents at the junction! The accident blackspot has been there forever. Yesterday I talked to a policeman who'd had a man die in his arms at this junction - but the man from the council says it not a dangerous junction. It beggars belief.

Anyway, the couple of workers were nice men who even moved the sign back a bit so I could make the place better by putting a flower bed around it. So thank you to them!


An Elephant Never Forgets

We seem to have had an afternoon of Ex-Pats who've moved back to Britain or who are visiting relatives. It would seem that the Spanish economy is pretty dire, both on the Spanish mainland and in the Canaries.

It's funny how people are amazed that you can remember them and their teeth from so many years ago, particularly the lady who hadn't been to us at our present building - we've been here at Hesslewood Lodge twelve and a half years! I may not work in the surgery any more, but there are some things you just don't forget.


Honouring the fallen

Hull Normandy Veterans commemorate the anniversary of D Day at Hull Cenotaph

Hull Normandy Veterans at Hull Cenotaph


Jobs for tomorrow - tidy up from decorating the practice, go to Hull Cenotaph with the Hull Normandy Veterans, collect more antibacterial paint from merchant, collect new Health and Safety signs from ARCO - and then back to work for whatever turns up after the public holidays! After all that ....... I'll decide tomorrow!


68th Anniversary of D-Day in Europe

6th June 1944. D-Day in Europe. The greatest seaborne invasion in history.

So tomorrow is the 68th anniversary. I'll be at Hull's Cenotaph to commemorate the event and the fallen with Hull Normandy Veterans Association. It's very humbling to stand alongside men who fought for everything we have now. They are the fortunate ones. The ones who didn't pay the ultimate price of losing their lives.

I'll admit I'm a bit of a D Day nerd. Even the photograph adorning our waiting room wall is of Omaha Beach.
Les Braves Omaha Beach

It's been up for a while and it's probably time for a change, so if anyone wants to buy it.......


Crimewatch Hessle

It never ceases to amaze me how much vandalism and low level crime we get at the practice. Over the years we've had our roof stripped of lead four times, mowers stolen from our shed, windows smashed, bins tipped over, plants stolen and so on and on.....

When the bunting I'd put up for the Queens Diamond Jubilee had come down, I watched back our CCTV and sure enough it wasn't the wind, it was a gang of youths. I decided to trawl back a few days out of sheer curiosity and was surprised to find someone at 5:05am last Saturday morning, firstly going through the American style post box we have for our newspaper deliveries and then trying to undo the padlock on our locked front gates.

But what amazes me is that they completely ignore the CCTV signs we have up, including a rather large one facing out onto Ferriby Road and Woodfield Lane! I do hope this man went on to commit crime further down Ferriby Road because we have some rather good footage of him and I've already been in contact with Humberside Police!


Diamond Jubilee flotilla on the Humber

Off to the Humber Bridge in a few minutes for the Queens Diamond Jubilee flotilla on the Humber. The sun's come out at last and we may well get a far better show than on the Thames (with less boats!).


Jane Tomlinson 10k Hull 2012

Just remembered that, as well as everything else going on in Hull this weekend it's the Jane Tomlinson 10k run. Of all the days to rain.


Hessle Feast 2012

We were a bit desperate for rain a month ago. Now it decides to go for it when it's least welcome! It's obvious that a great many people have decided to push the boat out and hold events today. We've Hessle Feast 2012, the Humber Bridge Farmers Market and the Diamond Jubilee Flotilla on the River Humber all in one day. Let alone all the events in the centre of Hull and what does it do? Chucks it down! Fortunately, the goof people of Hull seem to have taken a Bah Humbug attitude to the Diamond Jubilee and there aren't any street parties I'm aware of, so at least they won't be washed out.


The times they are a changing.....

Bunting up, another coat of gloss on the front lobby, trip to Johnstone's paint merchants for more paint, Nespresso coffee pods ordered for the waiting rooms, banking done, comments sheets checked...... How times have changed from the Silver Jubilee in 1977!



Up to the practice in a minute to do some more decorating. It's like the Forth Bridge used to be before they got a decent paint sorted out.

Very positive experience in ARCO Health and Safety shop yesterday. Well, both shops really. They opened a clearout shop on Hessle Road, Hull six months ago.  It's always worth a root around. But then I went onto the main store for some new signage to replace some that were ageing. It seems a shame to paint a room and put notices up that don't fit in. They were really helpful. ARCO may not be the cheapest place in Hull but they've certainly got the customer service element sorted out.

Well done ARCO!


So, what do you do for a living?

10am - so what have I done so far? Weaved my way through some of the rules and regulations about taking on an extra employee as a training dental nurse. Updated a few pages on the practice website, including adding extra links about the EU Cookie Law and how to disable cookies in the major search engines. Next thing is to go up to the practice and do some decorating with antibacterial paint. After that I'll have my fire safety hat on and be doing be reworking one of our fire safety notices.

So, what do I do for a living? I suppose the term is nearly EVERYTHING - except drill teeth!

Queen's Diamond Jubilee

I'll admit that I'm neither a Royalist nor a Republican. I can see that our system works and that's all that matters. The Queen comes across as a decent sort. She seems to understand the Big Picture and what happens to be good for the country. OK, she's privileged as far as possessions go, but they're not really hers - she's just the custodian for future generations. But she does have a sense of duty and she's given her life for us all. After all, who on earth would want to spend their lives opening schools/hospitals and being under microscopic mutiny?

So, I'm going to raise a glass to Queen Elizabeth II. Good on you and may you live long and well. And same goes for Phillip. He's politically incorrect, but harmless.

I do find it ironic that in 1977 my favourite track was "God Save the Queen" by the Sex Pistols. I felt very British then and can't help but think that they were taking the Mick. I still can't believe they actually meant the words, particularly having watched Johnny Rotten on "I'm a Celebrity". Sadly, successive Governments have kicked the Britishness out of me. This probably saved my front teeth when confronted by a Scotsman on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow who accused me of being English! I replied that I wasn't - I was a Yorkshireman! He said that was fine and we enjoyed a wee dram together!

So what am I?  A citizen of Yorkshire and The World. I don't care who you are and where you come from and what you're difference is - who cares? As long as you're a nice person, you're welcome!

(Why on earth do Government organisations feel the need to pigeon hole us into an ethnicity? Is it racism in the name of political correctness? Peel off our skin and we're all the same underneath.)



Should have started looking for bunting earlier. It's now as rare as rocking horse poo in the shops!


Mental Capacity Act 2005

Good staff meeting! Very satisfying, got through all sorts of things from our new computer systems to the Mental Capacity Act! If we're honest I think my own Mental Capacity will be dulled by the time we get new systems up and running!

I 'll admit to being pleased with myself - being able to upload the Powerpoint from the presentation on Safeguarding to our staff CPD is really useful.


Careers advice

Fascinating day! After I'd managed to wipe 25% off my car insurance by the simple trick of filling in all the details on my renewal notice onto the same company's website, I then spent half the day dispensing information on getting into University and how to construct your application! I find this bizarre - that people would come to their dentist for what is effectively careers advice. But it happens over and over again. But it does mirror my own experience with my own kids. So we spend endless hours getting our kids to learn stuff but never really point them in the right direction to use it!


NHS root treatment

All over the news about NHS dentists this morning. The present fee for a root canal treatment is £48. A set of files is about £30 - £33. We use them just once and dispose of them.

So what can an NHS dentist do?

A. Do the root treatment at a loss?
B. Extract the tooth?
C. Persuade the patient to have a root treatment for a private fee?

I used to do A.


Thought for the day

As a dental practice we have to see our place in society. Okay, we drill teeth and pull the odd one out as well, but we have a larger part to play. I remember Professor Sir Paul Bramley (impressive, eh?) telling us just before finals not to just go out into society and be parasites - that we should be part of the fabric of society and put more back than we take out.

I got lucky in life. I got the right upbringing and was fortunate to be blessed with more than my fair share of skills. Even having my neck and hands fail on me, I've been lucky to have the skills to pick up the pieces and drive into the future.

So, tonight I've been assembling an Integrated Prevention Strategy for the practice. The idea is to pull together and formalise the different strands of prevention advice we have in the practice. At this stage I've put it together as a discussion document for our staff to comment on and then we'll add meat to the bones.

Where does optimal care live? In enormous organisations where the people at the top know nothing about what goes on at ground level? In companies run by accountants to whom care means nothing but the next few pence on the profit? Or at an individual level, practitioners whose sole motivation is ultimately cash, with the patient as a vehicle?

Or elsewhere?


Rocket Science

What do you do when you're presented with an elderly patient who arrives at the door and has toothache? Especially if that patient is with a carer who has located the practice because the patient can't remember where you are and the carer doesn't have time to deal with the situation because they have another call.

Take ownership of the situation. Reassure the carer you'll sort it all out and deal with it!

Sit the patient down, make them a cuppa and find them something to read until the patient being treated has finished. Get the toothache sorted out and then when they're done, walk them to their door to make sure they make it back safely.

It's not rocket science.


Guerilla gardening

Grass cut, pots watered. People always want to stop and chat when I cut the grass or tend the flowers at the front of the practice. I hadn't realised the impact it would have planting flowers around the Woodfield Lane sign. Now I'm eyeing up the tourist information signs to the Humber Bridge and Hessle foreshore and thinking I'll do the same in the near future. It's not quite guerilla gardening because the plot is actually ours, but if everyone planted around their local road signs, wouldn't it be a nicer place?


The Terriers get promoted

Huddersfield Town promoted to the Championship after penalty shoot out!

You never lose your roots. The problem comes next season when they play against Hull City. We've strong links with Hull City, so it looks like my status as a naturalised 'Ullite may be dominant - just like Assem and Ehab Allam!

Come on the Tigers!


Too hot in Athens

Glorious day!

It's interesting working with Chris Ziaras because of his Greek origins. He actually likes british weather because it's not stifling hot all summer and the unpredictability means that we appreciate the nice days when we get them. Point taken!


If it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger

While a patient was being treated this morning, his partner took the opportunity to sit out in our garden. She was very complimentary. We've known her very many years, and knowing how life had gone for me over the last two years, she asked how life is going for me. It's nice to know people care.

She told me that I'm an entrepreneur because of all the different things I do. I have to say I agreed, but my belief is that the success comes from doing what you do with passion and hard work, not by cutting costs and corners. Do everything you do well and you'll succeed. But do it with humanity and care for others, not for selfish reasons. Do it well and you'll happen to make a living, instead of money being the prime motivator.

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how we weathered a perfect storm over the last two years and surfaced even stronger.

"To infinity and beyond!!!"



My faith in humanity was restored this morning when I replanted the flower bed around the Woodfield Lane sign outside the practice. A succession of people stopped for a chat, some to just talk, but a number of people said thank you just for planting it up!


EU Cookie Law

Yes there really is one - and it comes into effect on 26th May 2012. Cookies are little bits of software that websites dump onto your computer for all sorts of reasons "to enhance your experience". Otherwise known as to track where you go on the web. This site uses Google Analytics, which tells me how many hits I get, which city in the world they come from, which pages are visited and for how long. That way I can work out if I'm actually writing something people are interested in. If you don't want to be tracked - just turn off your cookies in your browser.

To read the Information Commissioner's take on the Law follow this link


At least we had a good curry for tea!

We've been over to Leeds tonight to Talking Points run by Glaxo Smith Klein. Got to say it was disappointing. The first speaker was about recording of data for examinations. The problem is we've been using a standardised format for over ten years based on the Denplan Excel method. It all seemed a bit pointless. So, in the dark ages we would have written a check up as "CU" or "Exam" but we've been documenting all sort of things for many years .......

Firstly a set of three standardised questions designed to allow the patient to express any concerns.

Pain - "Do you suffer from any pain or discomfort from your teeth or mouth?"
Function - "Can you comfortably chew an unrestricted diet?"
Appearance - " Are you content with the appearance of your teeth?"

EOE - Extraoral Examination - the soft tissues of head and neck outside the mouth. We comment on any odd lumps, bumps and so on.
IOE - Intraoral Examination - the soft tissues inside the mouth. Looking for bumps, patches, ulcers and so on.
TMJ - The Temporomandibular Joints - jaw joints. Any clicking, grating or deviation from a smooth, straight opening.
Occlusion - the World Health Organisation define that to remain healthy we should have ten pairs of teeth biting against each other. They can be natural or false.
Caries - decayed teeth.
Wear and Tear - increasingly known as Tooth Surface Loss (TSL).
BPE - Basic Periodontal Examination. Screening of gums for bleeding, debris build up and pocketing.

And you thought we just had a bit of a look around!

(At least we had a good curry for tea!)


Shrek and Donkey

We're off to some postgrad in Leeds tonight. Wish it wasn't so hot!

Smith Kline Beecham do this annually under the title Talking Points. So tonight's rivetting topics are - "Wear and Tear assessments of teeth" and in the second half, they're going to try to teach us how to talk to patients!!! To misquote Shrek - "the hard bit's getting us to shut up!"


Health and Safety and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee

The Health and Safety Executive are grossly misunderstood.

Most of the rubbish that's spun about Health and Safety - "Oooh, can't do that - Health and Safety!"
you know the routine, it's spun by 'jobsworths'. It's interesting to follow the HSE website. OK, I'm sad! The line from the Executive themselves is so different from the stuff that tends to hit the headlines. So they put out a bulletin yesterday about Health and Safety in relation to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Here's a link to it.

Have a read, it'll change your view. They completely understand that the only way we end up looking after our own safety is to learn risk from an early age. How do you learn not to fall over on concrete? You fall over on concrete!!


Anapen recall

Funny couple of days! Too many things to be done to remember them all! The sunny weather has been superb though. Just waiting for the rambling roses in our car park to erupt into flower.

I've been chasing down a broken dental dam clamp for the last few days. The paperwork it generated is astonishing. The manufacturers, Coltene Whaledent came to collect it today for analysis. It'll be interesting to read their report when they send it to the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority.

It's amazing the stuff that arrives by e-mail in a day. The MHRA have sent an alert out today recalling Anapens - the alternative to Epipens for severe allergic reactions. Ironically, less than a month ago we changed over from using Epipens in our emergency kit to the Anapen because they have a more appropriate dose (more of it!) and then we have to scrap the idea and go back to where we were! Progress?


Filippini and Gray

I went with a patient to one of our partner laboratories, Filippini and Gray, today. Stuart is in the process of restoring an implant he's placed and the shade match for the crown is a nightmare. So, the obvious thing is for the technician to see the patient face to face. Having said that, it was a three hour round trip to Bury in Lancashire! But sometimes it's the only way to gat the job right.

The interesting thing from my point of view was that we were told the fashion for ridiculously white, even teeth appears to be passing. The number of cases they're being sent of this type is falling - so much for the TOWIE smile!


Woodfield Lane, Hessle

Finally manged to finish clearing away after Hessle Open Gardens. I've put the marquee away and made sure it's all ready for next time. I'm pleased with the £365 we made for the charities - Dove House Hospice, Hearing Dogs for the Deaf and the British Red Cross. I'm regarding that as the baseline and we'll see how we can improve on that figure next time.

Job for this week is to replant the bed around the road sign for Woodfield Lane. The pansies and crocuses have finished, so time to put some new life into it.

Let's see if East Riding Council actually contact me about the horrible accident on the junction with Ferriby Road. I contacted one of our local councillors, so we'll possibly see more action.


Microfibre cleaning cloths

Saturday - day off! So that's why I've only done a few things for the practice so far today!

Rejig of our logging in and out of laboratory work. Tweaked the paperwork used to document disinfection of laboratory work etc as it enters and leaves the building. Trip to office supplies for even more files - Staples happened to have the right microfibre colour coded cloths at a good price (pack of four for a pound!) so I stocked up on them too. Now I'm sitting at home working on the Safeguarding Powerpoint for our next staff meeting.

I'm pleased it's a day off. Time to kick my son out of bed and make a bacon sandwich!


Ferriby Road Blackspot

The best laid plans of mice and men!

So much for painting the front lobby at the practice today. Paula and I "deep cleaned" out reception area this morning. Then I changed the filters on our Reverse Osmosis water filter system. I thought I'd just tidy up the paperwork from a near miss report to the MHRA before starting painting and then "BANG". Another accident on the junction outside the practice.

I've been in correspondence with East Riding of Yorkshire council's Road Safety people over the last couple of months trying to get the junction made safer. Just last week I received a letter telling me how there hadn't been any serious injuries in the last three years, so nothing will happen.

So, here's an open letter......

Dear East Riding of Yorkshire Council,

How on earth you got away with a triple death today only God knows. Yet again a driver jumped the stop line at the end of Heads Lane and was hit by an oncoming vehicle. The oncoming vehicle was a "60" registered 3.5 tonne truck. The vehicle that jumped the line was an "02" registered Hyundai Getz. By utter chance the truck hit the front wing of the car. As I write, the car is currently waiting to be dragged off the road, as it is immovable. I would guess that the truck being new means that he could stop more quickly and that the tyres were good enabling him to take a degree of evasive action. Probably saving three fatalities.

As the only thing that is going to make you respond is statistics, I dialled 999. The police who attended, were very open about how close a shave this had been. If the car had been a fraction of a second earlier it would have been buried into the front of the truck. Game over for the occupants. I've said that I don't want to be the person who has to stand up in the newspapers and say "I told you so". I'm repeating that statement now.

I will not preside over a death at the junction of Ferriby Road and Heads Lane/Woodfield Lane. Do something about it.


Reverse Osmosis filtration

Jobs for the morning - out with the antibacterial paint and freshen up the entrance lobby! Busy dental practices get knocked about, so it's a continuous process of maintenance. Then replacement of our five stage Reverse Osmosis filtration plant filters. Instead of buying in deionised water for our autoclaves and dental chairs we make our own. I don't understand why a dental practice would distil water these days.


Near miss reporting to MHRA.

This morning, I eventually managed to get through the process of filing a report to the MHRA. I was reporting a near miss due to a broken piece of kit. As we log all the batch numbers of kit when they come into the practice, it was a two minute job to hunt down the details of the offending article and make the whole process of chasing the batch easier. Then I rang the manufacturers (Coltene Whaledent) and talked to a very helpful young man who tried to contact their people in Switzerland. But Switzerland was closed today due to the Feast of the Ascension! It'll have to wait until tomorrow then!


Safe recruiting

I receive CVs most weeks from people asking for jobs. I generally have a quick flick through them and because we have stable staffing, I ring people back and tell them "sorry but we've no jobs going". It's only fair to let people know, so they know where they stand.

Last week I received an unusual one. A dental nurse offering to do Locum work. Unusual. And possibly very useful. So, I interviewed had an informal chat with her today. She had an enormous wad of paperwork with her, but even though she'd been doing locums for a while some of her paperwork just wasn't there. We need a trail of evidence of someone's entire career, including any gaps with explanations of why there are gaps. And we need references from recent employers. It's all about patient safety.

Next job is to see her again when she has all the proper paperwork and then we'll do a full formal induction. If she does work for us we need to know that she can be thrown in the deep end and work safely in the practice.


Adverse events and near misses

We have systems for events where you think - "That Was a Close One" or "Oh Heck!". Otherwise known as near misses and adverse events. The idea is that we look at what we do and try to spot what could go wrong before it actually does.

Today I was asked to pop up to Stuart's surgery where we'd had a near miss. Stuart was doing some treatment with a tooth isolated by dental dam. Dental dam is a sheet of "rubber" with a tiny hole in it, stretched around a tooth and held in place with a metal clamp on the tooth. (We deliberately use non-latex dam to prevent sensitisation to latex and allergic reactions.) The clamp on the tooth had fractured into two parts despite being almost brand new. The dam was in place so the patient hadn't been at risk - but if the clamp had been placed first, and then fractured before the dam went into place, the patient would have been at significant risk.

So off goes the paper trail! First there's the adverse event report. One goes to a central file and one for all to see in our staff room. Usually, that's the end of it. The report works out if we can change the way that we work, and if we can, we tweak it. Unusually, this event involves a "Medical Device". This means it's governed by the MHRA (The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority). The job for tomorrow morning is firstly to isolate the broken clamp, sterilise it and then store it for inspection. We'll take out of circulation the other clamps made by the same manufacturer and then contact them directly for replacement. In the meantime, I file a report to the MHRA so that they've got a central report. It may be that there's a dodgy batch out there - and it needs hunting down.

What a messing about! BUT, if it stops the actual nasty event happening, then a near miss is well worth reporting. That's why the chemical industry do near miss reporting - because it makes sense!


Belkin N600 Play router

Our broadband at the practice failed yesterday afternoon. After phoning Kingston Communications and getting the line checked, the conclusion was that we had an equipment problem at our end. So I started by changing the ADSL filter - no success. So it was router failure. I'd bought a new router for home a few weeks ago because that had failed too. Routers don't last very long!

My experience with the setting up the new router at home was exceptional. The Belkin N600 Play was the easiest router I've ever set up and connected. For the first time ever there was no sweating, no head scratching, no effort at all! And it's an absolute doddle to set up as a network printer. So guess what I bought for work! Same experience - no problems connecting to various versions of Windows, a Macbook, iPad and iPhone and then networking a printer.

Thank you Belkin!


Hearing dogs for the deaf

We handed over £365.25 to the organisers of Hessle West Open Gardens 2012 this morning. Not a bad day's fundraising yesterday. If we're really honest it would have been cheaper just to hand over the money and not be involved! But a steady stream of people enjoyed our garden and the refreshments.

This year's recipients of the monies raised are the British Red Cross, Dove House Hospice Hull, and Hearing Dogs for the Deaf. This is the 20th year that Hessle has has Open Gardens and up to last year over £66,000 had been raised for various charities. The hope is to tip over the £70,000 this year. So crossed fingers.

Well done Leanne and Angie on your sterling efforts yesterday!


Hessle West Open Gardens 2012

Even though I was committed to being out of Hull all weekend I managed to keep in touch with Leanne and Angie while they ran our Open Gardens entry. It sound like they had a good day, if not a little cold. It also sound like they made a few bob for the charity causes along the way! We'll get counted up in the morning and present the organisers with a not inconsiderable amount of money. Well done girls!


Record day!

Record day on the website yesterday! Ten times the hits we were averaging a few months ago!

This site cost £90 for the year. Why waste thousands of pounds buying in a website when you can write one yourself? It's much more personal and you have total control.


Mr Skidmore

Mr Skidmore - that's the name of the man in charge of Road Safety at East Riding of Yorkshire Council! How bizarre!

Anyway - I blogged on the 16th of April about how dangerous the junction of Ferriby Road and Woodfield Lane / Heads Lane is outside the practice. I'd been in touch with the council because I didn't want to preside over a death at the junction. I got my reply today - statistics show not enough accidents - blah, blah, blah. OK - you want to play the statistics game. In future we'll report every accident that we have to scrape up to the police. You want statistics - you'll get statistics. They'll be the same Killed and Serious Injury Statistics (KSIs) used to justify some of the speed camera sites around here. If you're reading this, Mr Skidmore - I HAVE read the KSI stats.

I just hope I'm not on the front page of the Hull Daily Mail saying "I told you so" before Mr Skidmore's department at East Riding Council stop fiddling with this junction and sort it out properly.

To misquote a certain credit card advert

Set of traffic lights - circa £30,000
Car written off in last two accidents that I've personally cleared up  - circa £40,000
A human life - priceless


Hessle West Open Gardens 2012

Marquee up - check. Seating out - check. Tables out - check. Tea and coffee and soft drinks organised - check. Extra loo roll bought - double check!

Hundreds of Chocolate brownies baked - mmmm. Hundreds of Stem ginger biscuits baked - mmmm!

Our inaugural Hessle Open Gardens entry is coming together nicely. It's in aid of the British Red Cross so let's see how much money we can make for them.

More interesting than me blogging about the clinical waste contracts! How much time have I wasted over the last couple of months trying to make sure Cannon Hygiene have it right? And don't get me started about their rigid bin for semi-sharps. The frame it stands in to keep it off the floor is completely useless. Marks out of ten - two at most. Utter rubbish.....


Makro, Hull

If you've been reading my meanderings on this blog you'll know we're setting up for Hessle West Open Gardens this next Sunday. So off I trotted to Makro, St Andrews Quay, Hull. Now I have to admit I'd gone off Makro. It'd got scruffy and hadn't changed in years. But recently they've been reworking our local store and I have to say I'm impressed. They'd everything I needed to set up for Sunday (apart from clips to hold tablecloths in place) and the experience was transformed.

So it's congratulations to whoever redesigned the store! Well done!


Corporate Social Responsibility

I find it absolutely fascinating reading the dental press. Not always, but sometimes! There's a large piece in one of the papers this week about a trip being set up to South Africa to see children in orphanages. This seems to be a trend. A dentist goes and does check ups on some of the most underprivileged kids you'll ever see and gives them a toothbrush each. No actual treatment is performed, so if one of the kids has rotten teeth it's pointed out but nothing really happens. So where is the good in that?

But you can splash it all over the papers!

Instead of stunts like this, real Social Responsibility is things like releasing and funding one of your staff to go work and perform treatment in an orphanage for two weeks (we've done just that). Or, as one of our patients has done, go work on a Mercy Ship off West Africa at your own expense. How about funding your local rugby club (done that) or raising money on Open Gardens (doing that this weekend). But do you really have to push it all over the press?

This Corporate Social Responsibility is actually a game being played by Corporates to try to enhance their image. Why can't they just do it properly?


CQC registration for GP practices 2013

CQC registration - we've been through it in dentistry and the next layer of healthcare to come on board are GPs. I spent yesterday morning with two GP practice managers trying to explain my experience of the process and sharing with them anything I had learned. I think we barely scratched the surface, but the messages were ultimately that it has to be a team approach - no one person can achieve the required standards alone. It's about safety in everything we do and the "patient journey". It's about imagining the patient's experience as they go through the practice - from the moment they phone for an appointment to when they leave. (Miraculously cured obviously!)

If we're honest a lot of it is customer service!


Inaugural Prize draw

As an attempt to get patients to actually fill in some feedback sheets I've been running a prize draw. We'd two prizes going - a random one for just for filling in a sheet and a second one for best suggestion. Choice of prizes - champagne, chocolates or toothbrushes.

And the winners are ...........!

Liz of Springhead, Hull for the random prize. Liz went for nice chocolates as a prize! Like me, she doesn't like the creams, so I've got the task of finding chocolates like "those purple ones in Quality Street".


Matt of Penrith, Cumbria for best suggestion. Matt chose a year's worth of toothbrushes!

Next draw at the beginning of August, so get your suggestions in!


Mental Capacity Act 2005

I just spent the evening teaching myself to use Powerpoint. It's intuitive and surprisingly easy - for once!

I'm gradually ramping up our staff meetings, so for our next meeting, which is partly about Safeguarding I'm constructing a presentation about Safeguarding (child protection), vulnerable adults and the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

The thing about abuse or neglect is you've got to be extra-vigilant, otherwise you may miss it. Dentists are often the ones to pick up signs of abuse or neglect because of our contact with patients. I'm convinced that the deeper than average relationships with patients in our practice give us an advantage. When you've known someone many years, you pick up on the subtleties. You spot the times when they're "different". When they're not themselves. And often people open up to us where maybe they wouldn't elsewhere. Over the years we've been told things you wouldn't even tell in a confessional. Sometimes the relief is palpable. At some point in our lives we may all be defined as vulnerable and when we are we need those around us to notice.

Dentists have a bigger place in life than just drilling teeth - or at least some do.


Staff continuing professional development

It may be  Bank Holiday but that's more stuff uploaded to our staff CPD system - taking it over the 200 documents!



Grass cut, bark mulch down - now it's out with the Hammerite!



More testimonials added to our web page. It's very humbling reading many of them. After 24 years trying to get it right for patients it's nice to see the feedback we get.

So, as it's Bank Holiday Monday and therefore a day off, I'm going to the practice to cut the grass (after I've finished updating the website) - so much for a day off!


Red Cross and Open Gardens

Decking stained, pots replanted. Garden furniture cleaned. So much for Bank Holiday Sunday! The next week is going to be a busy one! Hessle West Open Gardens 2012 is next Sunday and it's all gearing up at the practice. We're providing free off road car parking, toilets (very important!) and drinks and home baking under cover in a marquee.

The Red Cross are behind the event, so the causes are worthwhile. Come and have a look around the Southfield Conservation area and enjoy the day out!


Hessle West Open Gardens

I reckon we'll be setting up for Hessle West Open Gardens all week! Did I really buy two trolleys worth of stuff in B&Q today? Just adding to our garden at the practice to make it a nice spot to sit in. But, the Open Gardens raises money for charity - so even if the weather is awful tomorrow I'll be up there again.

And there'll be so much baking to do because we're running a refreshment stop - and my wife bakes the most amazing brownies and stem ginger biscuits!

I've got one of those weeks this week, as well as running the practice I'm seeing the practice manager at a doctor's General Practice to help them with the process of Care Quality Commission registration. In the meantime I've a marquee to erect for the Open Gardens and then at the weekend it's my son's graduation and my daughter's 21st Birthday!

Busy week!


PhD funding from Heart Research UK

My son's been working away over the last year trying to raise funding for a PhD. The sad thing is that the economy went through the floor (as if we hadn't noticed) so the money is a struggle to find. He wants to research a technique to watch calcium metabolism in real time. As someone on the outside looking in, I think "that would be really useful". Calcium is used for nerves to talk to each other. So the ability to watch whether nerves communicate would be really useful in heart metabolism, multiple sclerosis and so on.

Today he had a meeting to try to set up collaborative funding between Hull and Oxford Universities and British Heart Foundation. It looks optimistic because he may have the answer to the next big thing. I have to say at this point that I'm utterly unimpressed with Heart Research UK - they messed him about for months and then said "no". It would appear that they've done this to other groups as well. A message to Heart Research UK - don't be so amateur. And realise that you're playing with people's lives. Make a decision early And don't string people along. If you haven't got the money then say so.



Tip of the Day

Two and a half hours power washing decking - that's me wet through! We stained our decking last last year but the stain just didn't take well, so I've bottomed it so I can start again. Tip of the day - if you're going to stain your decking, give it a thorough clean first!


Hessle West Open Gardens

It's Hessle West Open Gardens in aid of charity next weekend, so it's time to get the garden prepared. Job for today is to power wash our decking and then restain it. That and Quality Assurance in the practice. I'd never have dreamed that my life would be so varied when I stopped working in the surgery 18 months ago!


Demarcation disputes

I had a fascinating morning on a course today. I thought I'd signed up for a course on using staff skills in the workplace. It turns out I'd signed up for a joint seminar with ACAS and the TUC! Having never worked in a "unionised" workplace, it was fascinating to sit in a room of mostly union representatives.

Once I'd got to grips with the jargon used by unions, it was apparent that there was a gulf in culture between us as a Small Enterprise and large companies. One of the speakers was talking about the concept of doing other jobs as well as your own. So, for example, if you were an electrician you might help out by doing some simple joinery - instead of the lunacy of demarcation that wrecked British industry in the 60s and 70s. I couldn't help but think of Carry On at your Convenience.

These are hard times. I'm pleased that we're finally waking up and working out that we're all in this together. If employers and employees don't all pull in the same direction we're all done for. That's why I was cleaning toilets yesterday and that's why bosses should work on "the floor".

Respect needs to be earned.


Physics - is time really a constant?

Are the days getting longer or is it me? I don't understand how I had time to - clear and sweep outside the practice, repaint the car space dividers in our car park, clean all the outside brass, reorganise our in house tools cupboard, set up new systems for logging disinfected instruments in and out of the practice plus even more Quality Assurance on visual inspection of instruments. Then started setting up the practice for Hessle Open Gardens, filled in passport forms for patients (for free obviously), did some plumbing, then some work on waste contracts, fitted extra locks to a door, cleaned and disinfected the patient loo and baby change,  and so on and on.......and still managed to chat with patients!!

And then I came home and rewrote the emergency arrangements for the next six months for our website. Job for tomorrow morning - a seminar in Leeds with ACAS! And then a meeting of Hull IVF trust!


Back to the grindstone!

Well, it's back to the mill today! After five days combining the BDA conference in Manchester and taking the Hull Normandy Veterans to Bletchley Park it was back to normality.

So today it's been - clinical waste contracts, clinical waste bins, tweaking our medical history forms to add the American Society of Anaesthesiologists physical status classification system (!), rearranging our resuscitation equipment, supervising X-ray developer maintenance, creating new logs for disinfection of equipment and lab work coming in and out of the practice and visual inspection of part processed instruments - I even had time to buy some Health and Safety notices, even more plastic boxes and yet another Etch a Sketch!

And - references for Claire for a job she's applied for in Doncaster and arranged to help a GP practice with their work up to CQC registration!

Time for a beer!


Bletchley Park with Hull Normandy Veterans

It's been a busy few days. What with the BDA conference in Manchester and then I've been to Bletchley Park with Hull Normandy Veterans. Pity it threw it down for both the conference and the trip to Bletchley. I've got to say I was utterly impressed with East Yorkshire Motor Services' Diplomat coach equipped with a wheelchair lift. We've previously had to heave one of the old chaps on and off the coach by hand but the sheer elegance of the engineering is stunning.


Cross infection control in dentistry

It was fascinating to sit in a lecture at the BDA conference and see a well respected dentist (and GDC member) tear apart some of the logic behind HTM01-05. This sums up the lunacy that's been forced on dentistry over the past few years. How many patients have died from infections acquired from their dental practice? Nil. How many patients die from infections acquired in hospitals? 3000 - 5000 a year!


BDA conference 2012

I'm off to Manchester for the 2012 BDA Conference this morning. A good couple of days solid Continuing Professional Development. What surprises me though is that I'm looking forward to a couple of hours on the train the most! Hessle station is five minutes walk away so no driving at all - I won't patronise you by saying it's all about my carbon footprint. It's actually because it's cheaper and easier!


Record day!

Record day for traffic on our website today and there's still an hour and a half to go! So much for spending thousands of pounds on web design - I spent 90 quid! All it needs is a half decent DIY package - add some SEO training and away you go. OK, it's not full of flash bits of animation (that's the limit of the package) but it does the job. Does the customer want to pay thousands for your web presence? Nope!


O2 instore customer service

If you read this blog regularly, you'll realise that I get very grumpy about poor customer service (!) So it was a pleasant change to go in the O2 shop in the Pod, St Andrews Quay, Hull. My phone's playing up - it's forever playing up, so after yet another call dropped out tonight I thought I'd enquire why. A nice young chap called Chris spent an hour working through the phone and the hopefully sorted it out with a new SIM card. He was personable and patient. It's not rocket science. So, if you're reading this and you're from O2 - give him a raise!


Patient feedback

I never cease to be humbled by the feedback we get from patients. Some of it is so astute - I've just checked off a form that said "The atmosphere is always calm and under control - I can't imagine this is just by accident". Anyone who knows me will know that this patient has obviously not been in when I'm around! I do tend to whip up a bit of a party! But it was the insight to understand that things don't happen by accident that impressed me. From spending hours collecting local history books for the waiting room to fitting sound proofing of doors (that was me this morning) it all matters. I repeat, it ALL matters.

Big budgets for advertising and top heavy layers of people who've never been dentists aren't our thing. We've got the disadvantage that we don't get economy of scale (why on earth have the Corporates been given discount on their CQC registration fees?) but we can choose to spend our money how we want - so that's why I ordered yet another five Piezoscaler handpieces yesterday. I'd found one of those deals that needs to be acted on - NOW! But if you have to fill in a requisition to send to your manager's manager..........


CPR and medical emergencies training

CPR and medical emergencies training all afternoon today. I do wish "they" would stop messing about with guidelines. You just get to grip with one method of working and then it's been changed! Good job we buy training in every six months instead of the mandatory yearly interval!


Clinical waste risk assessments

I seem to spend my life doing risk assessments! Today's tweak was fitting child locks on cupboards that no child should ever get to! But you never know......

More security adjustments done on computers and then lots of time working up a pack for care of the elderly.


Dental care for the elderly

Dental care for the elderly - page started tonight. Job for the week is to complete this as an information pack. That and staff meeting, resuscitation and medical emergencies training, the BDA conference in Manchester and off to Bletchley Park with the Normandy Veterans at the end of the week!


Dental care for Residential and Nursing Homes

I had a lengthy conversation with a couple of patients yesterday about the dental care people receive in residential homes and nursing homes. They were complaining about the day to day dental care their relative received - from a total of four different homes. It made me think - I've lots of information on here, but nothing specifically about older people. And I'm in an unusual position - I've done hundreds of domiciliary (home) visits in my time plus five years in adult special needs dentistry.

So the job for next week is to generate a mouth care advice pack for nursing and residential homes. If you'd like one, contact me.


Give me a call!

Tried to avoid dentistry today. Thought it was time for a day off for once. But sometimes you just can't help it so I've made new covers for our Audio Format Practice Information CDs - and set up the agenda for our next staff meeting.

I'm intrigued to know who in Hull spent an hour and a half on our website this week - Google Analytics logged it at 104 pages! It looks as though they went through every page on the site. I assume that it's probably another dentist having a thorough look at us. So if it's you, and you're reading this, and you think we can share information, give me a ring. We're all in this together and we can all learn from each other. I'm in a unique position as a dentist with 27 years chairside who now does pure practice management.


SCAMP alarms

I was called back to the practice at 3am today because the burglar alarm was going off. As soon as the monitoring centre at SCAMP alarms rang me, I knew that it was going to be a false alarm. The man at the other end of the phone asked me if I wanted him to call the police! So I told him not to bother. I arrived - to find absolutely nothing wrong and a code on the system saying we had a problem in our staff room. Needless to say there was nothing to see. They insisted on an engineer coming out to reset the system - which will cost me about 85 quid even though we have a maintenance contract with them! He went up there, pulled the front off the PIR and found nothing amiss. He produced what I assume was a resistor from deep in one of his pockets and fitted it in 20 seconds and spun me a yarn about it altering the settings.

I can't count the false alarms we've had. Ironically, for what I've paid over the years, it would probably have been cheaper to be burgled. We've been here exactly the same amount of time that we were at our old building and we NEVER had a false alarm with our old provider (AG alarms, now retired). Here - I've no idea how many times I've been out in the middle of the night for nothing - and paid for the privilege on top of the service contract.

Draw your own conclusions


Information Governance tests

There's only one way to find out whether your staff have taken in what they've been learning - and that's testing them. So I've just spent the day assembling three tests on Data Protection and Information Governance. It would have been good to access the NHS Information Governance tests but we're locked out because we're a private practice. The CQC will want us to prove we take IG seriously but we can't access the tests! So - if in doubt, create your own!


Cholera in Hull

I'll admit to being a bit of a cholera, water supply and drainage nerd. The history of Hull is intimately associated with drainage! That's why I have stacks of information about the evolution of Hull as a city over the last thousand years. If you're looking for information about why Hull was flooded in June 2007, look no further than "The Draining of the Hull Valley" produced in the 1950s by the Malet Lambert History Society. It explains everything - fifty years before it happened! I'd loaned that one and lots of other information to a patient who's doing Cholera in her GCSEs and it all came back today.

It never ceases to amaze me that people are surprised that they get flooded when they live on roads called Carr Lane or Ings Road! Just look up the definitions of Carr and Ings - wetland areas! Simple advice - look at the name of the road where you're considering living - and THINK about it. Should the poor people who bought houses on Broadwater Farm Estate have been a little more careful?


Training and Chocolate Cake

Not quite the day I expected to have! I did even more COSHH assessments (where on earth do they come from?) and then spent most of the day doing one on one Data Protection and Information Governance training. Job for tonight is to rejig our training recording to simplify it and try and get the web page about monitoring and recording of gum disease finished. Meanwhile, popped out to buy nice balsam tissues for the patient loo!

Highlight of the day - receiving a thank you chocolate cake from a very nice lady in Hong Kong that we've been doing some decontamination work with!


Data Protection training

Very interesting - I've just rewatched the Information Commissioner's Office training disc called "The lights are on" - it certainly makes you sit and look at the way you use data, both from a professional point of view and how other people use your own data. Their information videos are excellent - the "lights are on" video is about 20 minutes and well worth a watch - follow this link to their training video page

What saddens me most is that when my daughter's laptop died (see previous posts) PCWorld loaned her a machine with other people's CVs on it!!!!! When I called the ICO they weren't interested, so quite what you have to do to gain their attention, I don't know.


Vital Statistics

Job for today statistical analysis of audit! The joy!


Accident blackspot

Just finished reorganising the COSHH assessments this morning and got stuck into reading results of a patient survey when there was an almighty bang outside. Another accident on the crossroads outside the practice. Usual routine - make sure everyone's okay and then clear up the mess. Sadly, one of the people in today's accident was aggressive, but at least nobody was badly injured. That's a testament to modern cars for you.

So I phoned East Riding Council again - two months since my last call after an accident and they haven't been to look at the junction. How long until there's a death at the junction? Who knows?


COSHH assessments

Job for tomorrow is to reorganise where we keep our COSHH assessments - that's Control of Substances Hazardous to Health. COSHH assessments are a formal assessment of each and every product we buy in. Also clinical waste is classified as a "substance" in this context. I'll admit to being a bit obsessed with COSHH, so by the time the assessments are combined with Material Safely Data Sheets (MSDS) our files are presently over 2000 pages thick! They need to be easily accessible so that our staff can access them quickly to read up on any material they use and dispose of - and they do actually use them!

I had to laugh at the delicious irony of risk assessing where to keep the files! The logical place was the decontamination suite but the rooms should remain as clutter free as possible, so it's time to reshuffle our administrative paperwork yet again to accommodate them in a new place.


Archival storage

I spent the day organising some old notes to go to archival storage today. We use Oughtred and Harrison in Hull for secure storage. It's sensibly priced, secure and rapidly accessible, so there's no sensible reason not to use them. It absolutely amazed me when I went in a dental practice last year and they'd so many patients notes stuffed into the attic that they'd been banned from going up there in case the ceiling fell in!


Happy Greek Orthodox Easter!

This weekend is Easter for the Greek Orthodox faith - so Καλό Πάσχα!


How to polish Brass

I was buffing away at the brass signs to our disabled parking this morning when one of our patients asked about how I fight off the bird lime (poo!) and get them shiny. A patient who restores clocks recommended that I use 0000 steel wool. It's available from decorators merchants - in this case Westobys, Boulevard, Hull. So, I gave her some of mine to try!

0000 steel wool is very fine - combine it with Brasso liquid as a lubricant and not a great deal of work and it cuts the brass back brilliantly. Surprisingly it doesn't scratch the brass. Nice result - little effort!


Head Lice - Nits! (And threadworms!)

My son and I went for a haircut this afternoon. We go to Paul's Barbershop in Preston, East Hull. Confusingly Paul's real name is Christine! I was pleased to spot a bottle of shampoo in their Products section that was for resisting Head Lice. A simple solution really as it contains Tea Tree Oil. But what impressed me was Christine's utter common sense - kids get nits - they just do. And it's not just dirty kids who get them. So the taboo had been pushed to one side.

As dental practitioners we can all learn from Christine. Communication done well allows us to get into territory that some may find sensitive, but if it's done in a matter of fact, non judgmental way we can address all kinds of health issues. So if we're going to go down this route, here's information about threadworms! If your kids grow up and never get nits or worms you've led a sheltered life!


The Big Society

My wife and I popped out to Sainsburys tonight (other supermarkets are available!) for emergency teabags and came across an unfortunate couple whose Renault Megane had had the accelerator pedal fall off! Needless to say it had fallen off at the most inconvenient place possible and left them stranded!

So we shielded them with our car to protect them, pushed the car to somewhere safe and then drove them to collect their other car. We then all drove back and pushed the car about 100 yards to put it somewhere safe so it could be recovered later. And they were utterly surprised we'd done it. It's only what I'd hope somebody would do for my wife or kids if I wasn't around.

Whatever happened to people who just help other people because it's the right thing to do? Come on Society - if we all try a bit harder it'll be a much better place.


Will my house flood?

Bizarrely so many things happened today that I can't make my mind up what to blog! Maybe it's the start of dementia. I've covered everything today from Quality Assurance on HTM01-05 to helping someone find the flood risk of a property. To find out your risk, click the following link to the flood risk assessment for your area - - then just enter your postcode at the top right side of the page -  With staff we covered parts of Outcome 4 of CQC objectives and our smoking cessation help pack. We covered subjects from the cavitation effect in water from ultrasonics and from ship's propellers to the long term consequences of trauma on teeth! Mix in helping a patient who's been unfortunate enough to have had bacterial endocarditis and sharing our multicultural toilet door notices with a patient who's an optometrist and it becomes a veritable cornucopia!

Meanwhile, Christos did a great job sorting out an unfortunate lady who'd come to us as a new patient with a front tooth snapped off at gum level and sent her home with a beaming smile once more. Christos and Sue then spent the morning with one of our families of patients from the French Alps (really!) and sunny Bridlington. I just love Brid!

And all in between running in and out with an umbrella preventing hair disasters! Good times!



You just can't beat a bit of organising! I bought an extra filing cabinet this morning (Information Governance!) and then reorganised our upstairs admin and our staff reference library - how satisfying! The beauty of working alongside Nadene is that she enjoys nothing more than getting stuck in and deep cleaning, so we had a whale of a time between the pair of us!


Road Traffic Collisions

Not every day goes according to plan! First Christos had a shunt on the way to work - probably writing his car off, so he had to organise his life instead of treating patients this morning. It happens to us all I eventually. Luckily, nobody was hurt. Then my sister and her daughter were coming over from Huddersfield for treatment and the M62 was blocked by a major accident, so they didn't make it.

Ah well, at least I could spend time training staff, so we concentrated on the finer points of Information Governance before events took over again and I ended up replumbing a sink! Throw into the mix hunting down the manufacturers of all of our waste bins (that are rusting despite the outrageous price) and I reckon this goes down as a day with a difference!



Rain at last! The drought was starting to affect the ground all over the east side of England. On a personal note, we elected to back fill our pond at the practice for Health and Safety reasons. We turned it into a bog garden instead. The problem is bog plants need water! So I assume that it'll erupt into life this week.

If things keep up this week I'll be back and forth with the umbrella keeping hairdos dry!


Mr Site website software

A year ago today since I bought software and started writing this website. I've been very please with the package I bought - Mr Site Pro. It only cost me £90 and that included the domain name and hosting for the year! I've just renewed for £100. So if it's costing me a hundred quid a year it's a bargain! Their support has been excellent every time I've asked a question.

It's fascinating to look at the sites written by professionals at a cost of thousands of pounds. You could definitely argue that they're better BUT ultimately our patients pay for the website. Do they want to spend thousands of pounds so that we can add fancy animations? Probably not!


Dental staff online CPD

That's another 15 documents added to our staff Continuing Professional Development system. All sorts of things from The Children's Act and Child Protection to the Effect of Artificial Heart Valves on the Blood!


Our practice 24th anniversary

24 years young today! So we baked chocolate brownies and shared them with patients and their companions. I know it's naughty, but you've got to have a life! The fascinating thing was how many of the patients reminisced about the years we'd all spent together. It's so old fashioned how we are as a practice - from chatting with the 90 year old while her daughter had treatment to helping a couple stop their junk mail and telephone calls. And it carried on when I went to the supermarket later and ran into patients.

The peculiar thing is the juxtaposition to the cutting edge dentistry going on in the surgeries. We had implant dentistry being done, teeth being saved with root treatments that some would have extracted and all the while you could hear laughter from the surgeries. My kind of dentistry!


Happy Birthday, Hesslewood Lodge!

24 years today we started as a practice. We started as a "squat", which is putting a dental chair in an empty building and waiting for patients. We must have had our research spot on because we had 23 patients on the first day and never looked back!


Mini Tahiti - 1275cc. Compression ratio 9.4:1 - 95 Ron unleaded

My days become ever more surreal. First, I spent part of the morning explaining to a patient how to use his new camera - saved a trip to Jessops for him! Then hunted down the specification of the engine of a 20 year old Mini Tahiti for a patient.

Mini Tahiti 1275cc

He needed to find out if it was built with an engine that can take unleaded fuel without modification. His face was a joy to see - he had the broadest smile on his face. He usually drives a Rolls Royce worth about a quarter of a million pounds but this little car had cheered him up no end!

It was a blast from the past getting under the bonnet and getting at the engine number for him. A little time on the web and I found the spec with ease. I've had three Minis in my time and there's nothing to bring back the memories like the smell under the bonnet. As a student, I can't count the times I was sent off to rake the oil out from under my nails on a Monday morning! The memories!


Far too much to list today!

Great day! We almost had a party running in the waiting room this morning. I love the informality of the place and the buzz when it's rolling. We had Nicholaus Pevsner's books about architectural heritage and the post war Plan for Hull by Abercrombie and Lutyens out to start with. Then we drifted off into books about Forensic Psychology before the Nespresso coffees got flowing. Apparently there was some dentistry going on in the place as well! I had patients asking for copies of our toilet notices (!) and then we were giving way raspberry plants from a bucket outside the front door! All good clean informative fun.

It was such a good day for feedback as well. The comments we keep getting from patients are so positive. This morning they were interspersed with compliments by phone (from the Far East!) and then the post arrived with compliments by card!

I just have to cringe when I see "dental marketing gurus" who teach practices where they're going wrong. It's not rocket science - do customer service and do it well. Put yourself in the patient's shoes. Get the dentistry right and do dentistry because you enjoy it. Don't just do it for money. If you do it well, you'll happen to make a living as a side effect. Everywhere I go I observe what other people do - hotels and restaurants are good examples. People like Malmaison and McDonalds spend a lot of money detailing their environment. Look beyond the product at what they do and how they do it. Everything has been carefully considered.

So, I admit I did go and buy yet another plastic box for instrument storage today - because we had ONE that wasn't the right shape! And I did buy a laser light show to experiment with. It was for projecting onto our ceilings as a response to a suggestion from a patient. We'll see how the feedback goes. I've a suspicion we'll finish with TV screens on the ceilings.


Performing Rights

Satisfying day! If you like spreadsheets! That and fixing cars in the car park. Nothing quite like a trip to Halfords for a car battery and then fitting it over lunchtime to break up the day.

But by far and away the most satisfying part of the day was receiving the post. One of the dental rags had a front page headline about a European Ruling against Performing Rights. There have been endless small companies complaining about the daylight robbery that is paying PRS to have the radio on in the background while you work. There's been a case in Italy where common sense has been applied and the ruling is that it's not provided for entertainment. So we shouldn't be paying. At last! So, let's wait for it to distil down and then I can offend the "consultant" who rings and demands money out of us once a year. I reckon they extract a couple of million a year out of dentists - and who pays the bill? YOU DO!


Silver Jubilee Year

It's been a long time since we set up as a practice. We opened 5th April 1988 - so that means that we tip into our 25th year this week! Silver Jubilee Year!

I can't help but think of the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977. Those were the days - Disco and Punk Rock in equal measure. Johnny Rotten - what a national treasure!


The Scottish Play

I spent last night uploading to an iPad for patients to use on our WiFi hotspot. I thought it would be a good idea to load up the books section of the iPad so that there was a selection of material on there. So there's a spread from the Bible and the Qu'ran to children's books and cookery books.

Having said that, I did make the mistake of down loading Macbeth in some Scandinavian language I can't understand! I wonder what "the multitudinous seas incarnadine" translates as?

(It's Finnish! Nothing like a random language lobbed into the middle of your iPad library - does this count as diversity?) I'll leave it in anyway for a laugh. Who's going to be first to say they can't read it?


Cost of smoking

Interesting morning - spent most of it rewriting our advice sheets about smoking and the costs. Created a new download as a PDF about the financial cost of smoking. It's absolutely astonishing!