Interviews Available:    Mouth Cancer Foundation Consultant – Elizabeth Laverack

                                      Perfect 32 – Nicki Rowland

To set up an interview and for more information please call Media Ambitions on + 44 (0) 208 940 2222 or email

Every month the Mouth Cancer Foundation nominates a ‘Practice of the Month’ from the dental practices across the UK that have signed up to the charity’s new Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme*.  By joining the scheme the dental practice is placing the onus on their own team to actively prove they are carrying out a thorough head and neck cancer check at routine appointments.

The scheme is a ‘Two minutes to save a life’ screening protocol, which is a 10-point checklist that every dentist should be able to include in their routine examinations, whether they’re based at an NHS, private or mixed practice.  The charity accredits dental practices that meet the criteria. 

In the first of the series the Mouth Cancer Foundation chose Perfect 32 who joined the scheme at the pilot stage.  Here Nicki Rowland introduces Perfect 32 and acknowledges how the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme has inspired her team to raise public awareness of mouth cancer and work systematically to save lives.

Practice Name:            Perfect 32

Practice Address:        8 Ladygate, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU17 8BH

Size of Practice:          Staff of 11

Practice website:

Scheme Lead:              Nicki Rowland

Tell Us about Your Practice

Perfect 32 is a mixed private and NHS, family dental practice set up by Nicki and Gary Rowland in February 2006.  Principal Dentist, Gary, qualified from Birmingham in 1993 and has a master’s degree in restorative dentistry from the Eastman Dental Institute in London.  Nicki had previously worked for 14 years as a NHS physiotherapist specialising in musculoskeletal and spinal problems, before joining Gary as Practice Manager. 

The team comprises a principal dentist, one associate, a VDP, 4 nurses, 2 part-time receptionists, a deputy practice manager, practice manager and hygienist.   Perfect 32 works very closely with a specialist Implantologist and Maxillofacial Consultant from Hull Royal Infirmary and this link with the hospital has been invaluable in setting up the practice’s oral cancer screening and referral service. 

Perfect 32’s mission is ‘To build a profitable business committed to providing excellence in dentistry in an environment where trust, empathy and investment in our patients and staff are highly valued.’

What attracted you to the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme?

Perfect 32 has seen an increase in mouth cancer particularly in younger patients.   Nicki became passionate about raising awareness about the disease and every year Perfect 32 continually strives to take part in informative initiatives as well as Mouth Cancer Awareness Week in November.  This year Perfect 32 will also take part in Mouth Cancer Awareness Day on Wednesday 18th September 2013.

Nicki became involved with the Mouth Cancer Foundation in 2011 when she was drawn to the support group awards which the charity was promoting. Dr Vinod Joshi then invited Perfect 32 to work with the charity on piloting the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme.   Nicki led the pilot which helped make the scheme what it is today. Nicki now works as a consultant to the Mouth Cancer Foundation on all aspects of the project. 

How has the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme helped Perfect 32 reach best practice standards in the management of mouth cancer in general practice?

Implementing the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme at Perfect 32 has proved to be beneficial not only to patients and the wider community but also to the dental team and the practice. The scheme has developed a ‘2 Minutes to Save a Life’ screening protocol which is a systematic, 10 step, intra and extra oral cancer exam. The team has found that despite chasing UDA targets, dentists all have time to thoroughly screen every NHS patient and give them appropriate advice if they are identified as high risk. In light of recent litigation, this process means that all the clinicians are safeguarding their professional responsibility to deliver a robust mouth cancer check to every patient. The scheme also provides guidance on how to talk patients through the examination and what to do should a referral need to be made.

There are countless downloadable tools and documents on the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme website pages that are essential to raising awareness and educating patients. Included in the down loads are ‘My Dentist Saved my Life’ posters, HPV and lifestyle advice leaflets and very importantly a 7 point, mouth cancer self-examination checklist.

What benefits has Perfect 32 seen for the team, patients and wider community since introducing the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme into practice?

The scheme is a whole team approach and the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme CPD package trains every team member. Even the front line team will have complete knowledge of how to speak to patients who may have questions following a referral for further investigations or concerns about suspicious lesions for example. The CPD has been developed in line with the GDC’s recommendation for training in this area of work and covers everything from mouth cancer statistics, predisposing factors and a screening guide to screening, referral and patient experiences video footage. There is even guidance as to how to write a referral letter – nothing has been forgotten!

Adhering to the scheme’s criteria not only demonstrates to patients that team members are going the extra mile to further secure their oral health but it also assists the dental team to achieve Care Quality Commission outcomes and meet Further Service requirements on NHS contracts. Accredited practices are asked to run screening and referral reports weekly for each dentist. This data will be collated for research purposes and to analyse how effective the scheme is being. The team is totally motivated in the knowledge that they are ticking many CQC boxes but also contributing to a national study.

The scheme also gives powerful endorsement and recognition from the Mouth Cancer Foundation that a practice is meeting best practice standards in the management of mouth cancer. It is a Unique Selling Point.  Perfect 32 is benefitting from marketing and PR opportunities which is cheaper than advertising!  The practice runs free screening days every year and during the course of the initial pilot Perfect 32 saw a 60% conversion rate in 2012. 

What the Team thinks about the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme

Charlotte Rowles: “The Mouth Cancer Foundation team has put an enormous amount of effort into developing a life-saving programme for us to deliver to patients. As a dentist, I now feel I am fully meeting my duty of care and my professional responsibility to safeguard my patients’ oral and systemic health.”

Christine Ferguson: “Since engaging in the Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme programme, our new patient activity has notably increased. As a practice, we are not frightened to shout about the escalating problem of mouth cancer and to raise public awareness. In fact, letting the public know about what we are doing in the press has turned our reception’s phones into a hot-line!”

What the Patients Say about Perfect 32

Jessica Clarke: “It gives me absolute peace of mind that my dentist is giving me a thorough mouth cancer screening.”

Jacqui Alland: “My previous dentist did not feel around my neck and did not explain what they were looking for at all. At Perfect 32, my awareness of mouth cancer has been heightened as the staff explain everything. They run awareness and free screening campaigns every year and they publish news articles about what they are doing. Every dental team should be doing the same.”

The Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme is open to any dental practice whose clinicians are registered with the GDC. For more information or to join please contact the Mouth Cancer Foundation via or call +44 (0) 1924 950 950 for more information.



For general press enquiries, please contact:

Elizabeth Ayto Laverack or Izabela Nair

Media Ambitions - +44 208 940 2222


The Mouth Cancer Foundation –

The Mouth Cancer Foundation is a registered charity no. 1109298.

* The Mouth Cancer Screening Accreditation Scheme helps dentists to know what they are looking for and how to check and refer patients.  This will allow head and neck cancers to be caught earlier.  Head and neck cancers are particularly vicious and debilitating when detected late.  Patients who survive are a huge drain on medical resources for the rest of their lives, in terms of post operative and the psychological care required.  With earlier detection, lives are saved and costs on the NHS will reduce dramatically. 

The scheme is a ‘Two minutes to save a life’ screening protocol, which is a 10-point checklist that every dentist should be able to include in their routine examinations. 

Full membership includes access to a dedicated section of the charity website and FREE 1 hour CPD element as well as professional development and training modules suitable for all members of the practice team to ensure regular screening benefits practice patients.

In the UK, nearly 8000 people are diagnosed with Mouth Cancer every year.  Cancers can occur in any part of the mouth, tongue, lips, and adjacent areas like the throat, salivary glands, pharynx, larynx, sinus, and other sites in the head and neck area. In its very early stages, these Mouth Cancers can be easy to ignore.  Symptoms include:

1. An ulcer or white or red patch anywhere in the mouth that does not heal within 3 weeks

2. A lump or swelling anywhere in the mouth, jaw or neck that persists for more than 3 weeks

3. A difficulty in swallowing, chewing or moving the jaw or tongue

5. A numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth

6. A feeling that something is caught in the throat

7. A chronic sore throat or hoarseness that persists more than 6 weeks

8. An unexplained loosening of teeth with no dental cause

More information about Mouth Cancer is available at the Mouth Cancer Foundation web site or by emailing




Microsoft Office document icon MCSAS Practice of the Month PR 31.05.13.doc