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01st February 2012

Dental & GP Practices Failed by the CQC?

It has recently been reported that 36 dental practices failed to secure their registration with the Care Quality Commission, with some of them closing.

It would appear that this is not the direct result of inspections or an outright rejection of registration, but because the dental providers had failed to complete their registration.  This is a salutary lesson to all new providers that registration with the CQC is a pre-requisite for practice.

To a certain degree this information can be interpreted as the CQC failing the dental sector, as questions need to be raised about why so many practices have failed to secure registration. Although specific details have yet to be released, the CQC did confirm that 27 of these providers have either been forced to close or are subject to the unregistered services policy. The upshot of this is that the provision of dental care to the general public is being compromised, which one would assume was never the aim of the CQC. Did the unregistered providers not receive adequate support from the CQC?  Were the registration requirements too onerous or not explained clearly enough?  Those questions will no doubt be answered in the near future.

It is alarming to also read that a further 68 dental practices are being classified as “potentially unregistered providers” by the CQC, which will almost certainly lead to further closures. None of which bodes well for the registration of GP practices, where concerns about the role of the CQC and its efficacy are running high.  Dr Jack Edmonds, who is the Chair of the IDF (Independent Doctors Federation), has been quoted as saying that registration with the CQC was “onerous, fiddly and repetitive”.  He found that the CQC’s inability to provide data on the number of failing private practices to successfully register, as being symptomatic of a wider issue: “You want us to be transparent?  Well, you should be transparent.  It is a matter of fairness”.  It would seem that GPs and Dentists alike are experiencing many of the same problems.

It will be alarming for GP practices to read that 10% of them can expect to be inspected in person, because they have been deemed to be at “significant risk of non-compliance” in a pilot study completed recently by the CQC. With significant delays experienced in the registration of dental practices, general practitioners face an uncertain time regarding their own registration experience.  Resources are apparently more plentiful than a year ago, with recruitment plans for inspectors announced last year and reported by Quality Compliance Systems.  The disparity in how inspections may be carried out in both dental and GP practices, may prove more worrisome than the actual quality, as this has long been a complaint of the adult social care sector who have considerable experience of CQC inspections (and its forerunners) for many years.

Meeting registration requirements are not daunting, but they are time consuming and can get in the way of the provision of the service in question.  Keeping up to date with the vast amount of policies and procedures required to demonstrate compliance is a more difficult proposition.  CQC registration and compliance is far more than a tick box activity, which is why Quality Compliance Systems have developed a dental management system which looks at all aspects of compliance so that you don’t have to.  A GP management system is also due for release in February 2012, which will provide the same level of high support  as we give to all medical and adult social care providers.

Topics: Dentists

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