Quality Improvement in Dental Practice

The Dentistry Safety Climate Survey closed on 31 March 2020. Completed action plans were due to be uploaded to NES Portal by 31 July 2020.

For further queries with regards to your action plan, please contact the Dental Team at NES: qi.hub@nes.scot.nhs.uk

What is the Dentistry Safety Climate Survey (SCS)?

The SCS for dental practice teams opened on Thursday 1 August 2019 and will close on Tuesday 31st March 2020.

The SCS is a tool that allows teams to measure and better understand the current safety climate within their practice. The results from the SCS can be used to start a quality improvement planning conversation with your team and it has been used extensively in other primary care settings to help teams understand their practice and where they can make improvements.

The Chief Dental Officer has highlighted the survey in the recent memorandum to his letter PCA(D)(2019)10 and completing the survey and developing an action plan for improvement is part of the 2019 – 2020 quality improvement activity.

The memorandum also includes an expectation that all dental team members should undertake four QI eLearning modules to enable them to apply this different approach to support quality improvement in their practices. View our guide (PDF) for help in accessing the modules or for further information see the elearning Modules flyer (PDF) from NHS Education for Scotland (NES).

The survey was developed specifically for users in dental practices and Public Dental Services (PDS) and should involve all members of the practice team.  

The survey measures:

  • workload
  • communication
  • teamwork
  • safety systems, learning and
  • leadership.

Watch our video to find out more about the SCS. You can also listen to a recording of our WebEx which took place on 15 January 2020. The WebEx presentation can be found in the key documents section on the right.

How to register to start the SCS

Before undertaking the SCS your practice should:

  • Appoint a person to lead on the process and communicate with your practice or PDS staff.
    • The lead will be the main contact about the SCS within your practice or PDS team.
    • This can be anyone who has access to IT, is able to communicate easily with all members of your practice or PDS team and has some protected time.
    • It is essential that those leading the SCS read all of the guidance provided and share all relevant information with your whole team.
  • Find your dental practice location code/PDS site number to allow you to register. You can find it on ISD Scotland's National Reference Files at the bottom of the webpage to ‘other’ and then click on ‘dentprac’. 
  • Advise your whole team about the SCS and share the guidance and links for information
  • Use a staff meeting to introduce and explain the basic concept of the SCS before you start - they may have concerns and need to be reassured.

The information on how to register your practice team for the Safety Climate Survey will come from your NHS board to your practice’s NHS net address. Please be sure to check that account after Thursday 1 August 2019.

How do I complete?

The dentistry SCS can be found here http://dentistrysafetyclimate.com/

All members of your practice or PDS team should be invited to complete the SCS. When all staff members have completed the survey, each practice, or PDS site, will download a SCS report from the website.

All answers are anonymised and the individual report will not be seen by anyone else out with your team. Discussing the results of the SCS as team then allows you to begin to make positive changes to improve safety culture and in turn improve the service you deliver.

Information on how to complete the SCS can be found in our guidance document.

Should you have any further queries then please refer to our FAQ document.

Watch our short video to find out how to register and complete the SCS.

Getting your results

  • Individual responses within your team are not available to ensure anonymity. Only the dental practice coordinator will be able to access the practice level data.
  • A practice or PDS report can be generated after your staff members have completed the SCS.
  • An example of the report can be found here
  • A minimal requirement of 75% of your staff members to complete the SCS before generating the report.
  • If you have a small team, there needs to be a minimum of three people completing the SCS before you can generate the report.

Please refer to the timeline below which identifies key days for completion and getting the results.

Survey opened: Thursday 1 August 2019

Survey closes: Tuesday 31 March 2020

How should I share the results with my team?

  • It is important that the report is shared and a meeting is arranged dedicated to discussing the findings with your whole team.
  • Set a date for a meeting when the majority of your team can attend.
  • Nominate who will lead the meeting. A sample team meeting guidance template can be found here.
  • An action plan should be developed following the discussions. 
  • The action plan should identify three good points and three actions. A sample action plan template can be found here.
  • The completed action plan should be uploaded to NES Portal.

Any questions?

Please do not hesitate to contact us at