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Remote orthodontics: BDA back CQC moves on registration

The British Dental Association has applauded moves by the Care Quality Commission requiring remote orthodontic providers to be registered with them in order to practise lawfully.

The watchdog has stated that remote orthodontics comes under the regulated activities of ‘Treatment of disease, disorder or injury’ and ‘Diagnostic and screening procedures’ and as such requires registration, and by extension inspection.

The Commission notes that “to register with us, providers must assure us that they are able to provide safe and effective care in line with relevant legislation and guidance” and has indicated its willingness to prosecute providers who fail to register.

The General Dental Council recently acknowledged vital principles long advocated by the BDA that orthodontic patients need to be fully assessed by a dentist, that direct dentist-to-patient interaction – the basis for informed consent - is essential, and that patients must know the name and registration number of the dentist responsible for their care. However while offering warnings to patients the regulator failed to set out any sanctions to providers who departed from these principles.

Remote provision is growing in popularity, but can lead to irreversible damage to a patient’s mouth.

BDA Chair Eddie Crouch said:

“With remote orthodontics we need real regulation, not just empty warnings to properly protect patients.

“Mandatory CQC registration and inspection is a much-needed first step. A health watchdog needs teeth, and a willingness to prosecute those who fail to register is sending the right signal to unscrupulous operators.”