The most recent CQC 'State of Care' report reveals the low risk, good-quality care delivered in English dental practices.
What is the CQC?
The CQC is "the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England and aims to ensure that high-quality care is provided to everyone, and that it is a safe and good experience for users."
In 2011 providers of dental services in England became required to register with the CQC because they undertake the following regulated activities: treatment of disease, disorder or injury; surgical procedures; and diagnostic and screening procedures.
We are concerned that regulation of the dental profession is onerous, overly-complex and in places, unnecessary. We have consistently called for dental regulation that is proportionate, appropriate and transparent.
During the initial round of inspections, we argued that their 'one-size fits' all approach to dental inspections was inappropriate.
The CQC started out as a body that regulated care homes and hospital settings and we argued that there were significant differences between medicine and dentistry, and understanding these were crucial to fair and proportionate regulation, as well as for patient safety.
BDA campaigns for fair and proportionate regulation
When the CQC announced dental practices would have to pay to register in 2011, we argued that dentists were being unfairly burdened with the cost of regulation, particularly in proportion to the size of providers (single-handed practices being particularly affected) and in proportion to the evidence of potential harm to patients (which was low).
We argued against the initial proposed fee of £1,500 and after extensive campaigning by the BDA, this was reduced to £800 (for dentists with one location).
This was further reduced to £650 and is proposed to reduce further still in the coming year.
A new approach
After ongoing lobbying by the BDA, from April 2015, a new approach to practice inspections to accompany the new standards was implemented, focusing mainly on the quality and safety of services.
We welcomed the appointment of John Milne, our former General Dental Practice Committee Chair, as their Senior National Dental Adviser in 2015.
Under the new approach, CQC inspectors carry out an assessment of the quality of primary care dental services leading to a judgment about whether they provide people with safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led care (known as the five key questions).
We were pleased to see dental experts now on the front line for dental inspections and hope that this results in a more effective, more efficient inspection regime.
What about dental regulation in the rest of UK?
The CQC only regulates dental providers in England:
Through the BDA's country offices, we campaign for better regulation in each of the UK's countries.
What do your patients need to know?
Patients can find the latest inspection report for your practice on the CQC's website.
Help us: case studies of dentistry
Are you proud of your practice and the care it delivers to your patients? We're on the lookout for stories from across the UK that we can share with your peers, the regulators and the public, please get in touch if you are interested in helping us.
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