A WEST DORSET dentist has been told to throw out her old magazines and net curtains because they pose a health and safety risk.
Monica Symes, who runs Symes Dental Surgery in Lyme Regis, says she was told by an NHS official that her patients would be at risk if she kept magazines in her waiting room that were more than a week old.
She was also told to remove a net curtain and not to use Blu-Tack on the walls because they could also harbour germs.
Miss Symes said an NHS infection control worker from Dorset Primary Care Trust (PCT) advised her to remove them, or she could fail an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.
Miss Symes, who has run the Silver Street surgery for more than 30 years, said: “It seems over the top.
“I can see a reason in that you want to keep decent magazines in the waiting room but to regulate it just seems too much.
“Often patients will have kindly come in and offered some magazines and we have to say ‘I’m sorry, we can’t take them because they are out of date’.
“I had a whole shelf of National Geographic that were years old and people liked going through them to look at the pictures but I had to throw them out and people were horrified.”
Miss Symes invited the adviser to her surgery to make sure it was up to scratch.
“I wanted her to look round to make sure I was up to date with everything,” she said.
“She pointed out that magazines shouldn’t be kept if they are more than a week old.”
She added: “I did have a net curtain and they said no net curtains, and you are not allowed to put Blu-Tack on the wall because there’s a cross infection danger.”
But Miss Symes said she did not regret asking the adviser to assess her surgery.
“Cleanliness in a dental surgery is of paramount importance,” she added.
A spokesperson for the NHS Bournemouth and Poole and NHS Dorset Cluster said: “The advice to dispose of magazines more than a week old was not given as is not something either trust would advise; nor do we advise against the use of Blue-Tack.
“The advice we give to NHS dental practice owners is that patient waiting areas should be kept clear of unnecessary clutter to facilitate effective cleaning.”