"Overall, an extremely positive experience and very..."

About: Newcastle Dental Hospital

What I liked

The 5th year student who treated me was extremely helpful; she explained everything carefully, checking at each stage that I had understood and agreed with what she was proposing; she provided lots of useful tips and advice about maintaing oral health and she was friendly, putting me at my ease and providing an excellent service. I have not doubt that she will be a very good dentist, and have no hesitation in recommending Newcastle dental hospital to others.

What could be improved

The letters which are routinely sent out to patients could be improved - the language is rather impersonal and letters contain quite a lot of NHS style jargon, which are sometimes a bit dense ('conservation' for example puts me in mind of the work of English Heritage...) The impression it creates is unfortunate because once you get there, the staff are friendly and helpful but I imagine the letters could put people off.

Anything else?

I thought one of the clinicians was a little bit patronising - he asked me if I'd 'got my homework' which would have been fine for a child but didn't really strike the right tone for a middle aged woman!

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Newcastle Dental Hospital

Thank you very much for your positive comments posted on NHS Choices regarding the treatment you have received at the Dental Hospital from one of the dental students.

With regard to your concerns about the language in our appointment letters, specifically the use of the term ‘conservation’. Conservation refers to the role and aim of treatment in this department to ‘conserve’ the teeth rather than remove them. We apologise that you feel the letters contain jargon. We do have to relay a lot of information within these letters - to inform patients about their appointment details, any preparation that is needed and where to go on arrival. The letters follow a standard template across all of our hospitals in order to provide consistent advice. Please be assured that we will ensure your comments are considered when the template is reviewed.

We would also like to apologise that the clinician involved in your care came over as patronising. It is difficult to identify which member of staff was involved in your care without further details. We will certainly raise this comment at the directorate senior staff meeting to ensure that all staff are aware of the manner in which information is to be communicated with patients. If you would like us to investigate further, please do not hesitate to contact Mr Tim Baker, Directorate Manager Dental Hospital or Mr Paul Anderson, Patient Relations Manager on 0191 233 6161.

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