Michael worked at a dental practice and called us because he had some concerns about the practice. He was worried about the safety of the building and that staff were not ensuring instruments were suitably clean and sterile before use with patients.
Managers had failed to take these concerns seriously when Michael spoke to them. This left him stressed about the ongoing issues and confused about his options. He was now considering whether to contact someone else, such as the Care Quality Commission (CQC), but felt quite unsure about the process.
We reassured him that this could be an appropriate issue to bring to the CQC and gave him some clarity about his options. He could raise his concerns anonymously or confidentially. We advised that there were advantages to doing so confidentially as this would allow the CQC to get back into contact with him if needed and would establish a record of him raising his concerns.
We also advised him to consider whether interest from the CQC might generate suspicion that he raised concerns. This might be simply because of the size of the practice and his historic attempts to highlight these issues, rather than because of anyone revealing his name. Given that this was a worry, we discussed that he could mention these worries with the CQC. As Michael was leaving the practice soon, we also suggested he could consider raising these concerns after he left where these risks would be reduced.
We informed Michael of potential legal rights which meant he should not be mistreated for raising health and safety concerns and recommended that he contact Protect again if this did happen. We also helped him to differentiate between his concerns and suggested other relevant regulators if the CQC turned out to be better-placed to help with some than others.
Michael told us he felt much more confident of his options now having discussed them with us and felt much clearer about getting in touch with the CQC. He was reassured by discussing some strategies that could minimise the risks to him.