24 hours with…Donna Hickey, head of compliance

Donna Hickey, head of compliance at DBG started her career in dentistry as a nurse after graduating from college. Now, 21 years on she’s still helping dentists, but instead of treating patients she supports them in overcoming issues such as preparing for CQC/regulatory inspections to dealing with police requests to see patient records.

It’s 7.30am and Donna’s work phone can be heard ringing in her home in Cheshire which she shares with her husband Graham, who also works for DBG.

Today she is on call and taking enquiries from customers on the DBG compliance helpline.

“It’s important for customers to feel confident that help is available when they need it as you never know when something will happen such as a medical emergency. There is also a compliance email address for written queries.”

“The nature of the calls I receive really varies from day to day situations to more serious scenarios so you always have to be on the ball.

“It’s very rare for me or one of my team to be unable to give an answer straight away, but on the odd occasion it can happen. In this case we have a pool of experts at the other end of the phone that can provide further advice, or be on hand to give a second opinion.  We aim to get back to the customer within 48 hours, however it is generally the same day.”

At 8am Donna is on the road heading towards Manchester to meet up with her team to discuss the Radiation Protection Service which came in-house in September and it’s also a great time to catch up.

“I do drive a lot in my job role, but I actually don’t mind as long as I’m listening to Smooth FM – being brought up on Soul and Motown music has definitely stayed with me! 

“I am responsible for many different teams and healthcare groups, but I have six people that report directly to me.  It’s hard sometimes to always catch up, but I do like to organise a face to face meeting at least once a week as it’s crucial we keep in constant contact so we are able to improve the outcome for the people we support.

“Our main focus at the DBG is to ensure we support our customers in meeting compliance requirements in order for them to provide a safe environment, care and treatment. By introducing the Radiation Protection Service, we help them meet the requirements of current legislations to protect employees and patients from ionising radiation. When it was first introduced we did encounter a few issues with people unsure of how to fill in the forms, but the compliance team were on hand to offer support and guidance if needs be.”

At 11:00am Donna is on the train to London Euston when she receives a call from a dentist needing Donna’s guidance on regulation.

“It’s really important when a call comes in that you get all the vital information from the customer. The more information you have the better you can assist them, especially when it comes to regulation as there are different rules for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

“That’s one thing I love about my job – being able to help people, especially dental practices when they receive a negative regulatory report. It’s then my job to help put an action plan in place and figure out what needs to change and help them achieve that and progress. 

“Customers are at the heart of everything we do and since CQC inspections were introduced six years ago, DBG has invested heavily in its compliance offering to ensure it offers customers exceptional advice and guidance.”

Its 3pm and Donna, who has had a number of roles within the firm, starting in sales and marketing, before she realised her passion for helping, coaching and training people, has now arrived in London to help deliver a DBG training presentation on Radiography and Radiation Protection.

“I was one of the first with dental knowledge to be taken on by DBG and I can safely say the dynamics of the business has changed for the better – including the number of computers in the office. We only had one old Amstrad computer when I started that we all shared!  During my time at the company my healthcare compliance knowledge has grown and grown and I am thrilled that I can pass my knowledge on to our customers.

“I lead our current 15 training courses as well as our compliance services but today I am helping to deliver Dental Radiography and Radiation protection which is one of the core CPD subjects, meaning dentists and DCP’s must complete five hours verifiable CPD in a five-year period, even if they are not radiography qualified.”

The presentation went well and Donna stayed behind after the lecture to meet the attendees and answer any questions they had before walking the short distance to Euston Station to jump on the train home to Cheshire.

“I like traveling by train. It’s great for catching up on emails and collecting your thoughts. Today’s presentation went well, but I’m already thinking about the next event I’m involved in and I start my preparation.”

Its 9pm and Donna, who enjoys mountain biking in Wales in her spare time, is on the phone to her daughter, who is currently in her first year at UCLAN university.

“My day to day job is very rewarding, but can sometimes be slightly stressful so it’s lovely to come home and spend some quality time with my family.”