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CQC II – The Sequel
Changes are afoot! Care Quality Commission have published their plans and timetable for changes to the way dental practices are inspected. To précis these, they are based around:
- Inspecting focussed on 10 percent of practices.
- The use of more experienced dental ‘experts’ in the inspection teams.
- Use of ‘intelligence’ in focussed inspections, by collaborating with the GDC and the NHS in identifying practices of concern.
The good news is that CQC now agree that dentistry is in pretty good shape. To quote Steve Field, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services - “Our inspections of primary care dental services, including NHS and private dental services, in the last two years have identified that, compared with the other sectors we regulate, dental services present a lower risk to patients’ safety. Our stakeholders also agree that the majority of dental services are safe and that the quality of care is good.” The truth is that we are safer than they thought, between April 2011 and October 2013 they found that one in eight dental locations were not meeting the regulations in some way, compared with one in five in adult social care.
What is the main plot?
We will be judged by a new set of ‘Fundamental Standards’, but don’t worry all our current policies and procedures will provide evidence to meet these. They ask, are the services -
Inspections teams will only be targeting the 10% of practices which they feel are of concern and to help provide information and intelligence to focus attention a new partnership is being agreed. This involves The General Dental Council as the professional regulator, the Care Quality Commission as the systems regulator and NHS England which also holds a list
of suitable performers. These organisations have a mutual interest in ensuring that patients receive high-quality, safe, dental services from professionals and organisations that are competent and meet national standards, and that services improve. Where concerns about the safety of dental care emerge, these three organisations between them have the legal powers to intervene to mitigate risks to patients and the public. This will be a new ‘Tripartite’ Programme Board.
There is also an intention to work with populations in local areas to identify risk. They will do this by gathering feedback on dentists in regional and local listening activity and through the routine contact they have with local Healthwatch, local overview and scrutiny committees, and other community and voluntary organisations.
There is a published timetable for the phases of change being planned.
- September 2014 onwards: Ongoing engagement with internal and external stakeholders and the development of inspection methodology for dentistry.
- July to October 2014: Formal 12-week consultation on new guidance for all providers, on how to comply with the new regulations and on CQC’s enforcement policy.
- November 2014: Formal 8-week consultation on CQC’s provider handbook for the new approach to inspecting and regulating primary care dental services.
- November 2014 to February 2015: Wave 1 and 2 inspections: testing the new inspection approach for the sector.
- April 2015: Rollout of the new approach for the sector; this marks the formal start of the new approach and the end of the current approach.
Look out for future blogs on how this is progressing.
Dr John Shapter – QCS Expert Dental Contributor