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New legislation for RQIA inspections

New legislation to move to a statutory minimum period of once in every two years for RQIA inspections of dental practices in Northern Ireland will apply from 1 May 2022.

The change was confirmed by the DoH in a letter to us on 25 March. The news follows a consultation held on Fees and Frequency of Inspections in 2016, where we called for moving to inspections occurring once in every three years.

We have campaigned for a move away from annual RQIA inspections for many years. Last year we became concerned that this important change was not going to happen. In response, we lobbied MLAs and the Health Minister on the issue.

Last October, Minister Swann committed to introducing the necessary legislation before the end of the Assembly mandate. The legislation has now been passed in the very final days of the Assembly.

Dentistry has been regarded by RQIA as low risk and highly compliant, so we believe that annual inspections are disproportionate. The new move to inspections every two years is an important step in easing the burden on practitioners.