An island dental practice refused to engage with an independent inspection.

But its chief executive Tracey Bell insists inspectors could not go in while issues she had raised with Manx Care and the Department of Health and Social Care were still outstanding.

Tracey Bell’s clinic on Kensington Road, Douglas, was one of 13 practices due to be inspected by the Care Quality Commission in July this year.

The inspections aim to establish whether a service keeps patients safe, provides effective care, and is caring, well-led and responds to people’s needs.

But a report published by the CQC reveals that the Tracey Bell practice was ‘unwilling to engage with the assessment’.

The report states: ‘Prior to the on-site assessment, the provider had not responded or engaged with CQC despite several attempts to contact them by email and telephone to discuss and initiate the assessment process.

‘We asked all locations we were planning to assess to send us information to enable us to understand the practice and assist us with planning, this request was not responded to. On the day of the assessment, the provider was unwilling to engage with the assessment.

‘We were unable to speak with staff or look at practice policies, procedures and other records about how the service is managed.’

As a result the inspectors were unable to assess whether the practice was safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.

The CQC said it had contacted Manx Care to take the ‘appropriate action’.

It does not have statutory powers on improvement action for services in the Isle of Man, and providers here are not subject to CQC’s enforcement powers.

But Tracey Bell told the Manx Independent: ‘Due to ongoing matters I am currently unable to comment as to do so could prejudice myself or the other party.

‘I can confirm that the DHSC was informed two to three weeks before the planned visit, however they did not engage with me after this and they did not inform CQC.’

For the other 12 dental surgeries, the CQC highlighted areas of good practice but also areas where improvements could be made.

Avondale Dental Practice in Onchan, for example, was praised for being visibly clean, tidy and well-maintained, for having staff who felt involved, supported and worked as a team, and who treated patients with dignity and respect.

The CQC recommended only one area where the practice itself could improve - and this was with its procedures for dealing with sharps.

But at other practices, patient safety was raised as an issue.

The Grove Mount surgery in Ramsey had a longer list of areas where improvements could be made – although there were positive findings too.

But inspectors found it was ‘not always providing safe care in accordance with CQC’s inspection framework’.

‘Staff did not have clear and comprehensive systems to keep patients safe,’ the CQC found.

Arrangements for transporting, cleaning, checking, sterilising and storing instruments were not in line with accepted guidance, the inspectors’ report states.

Another area for improvement was the need to ensure ‘good governance and leadership are sustained in the longer term’.

Similarly, the Community Dental Service on Westmoreland Road, Douglas, was found to be not always providing safe care.

But the CQC added: ‘The impact of our concerns, in terms of the safety of clinical care, is minor for patients using the service.

‘Once the shortcomings have been put right the likelihood of them occurring in the future is low.’

Staff had systems to keep patients safe, and some of these systems could be improved upon, the assessment found.

In contrast, Thie Rosien surgery in Port Erin was found to providing safe care with staff having clear systems to keep patients safe.

Among the few areas recommended for some improvement were risk management and infection control.

The independent inspections were introduced following the Sir Jonathan Michael review of island health and social care services.

All services provided directly and indirectly by Manx Care are being inspected.

Private services that do not receive Manx Care funding are not being assessed by the CQC.