As you may know, the CQC is holding a series of webinars to explain the TMA. If you have not had chance to attend or watch the recording, here is a summary for Dentistry.
The CQC has reinforced that, whilst it had largely stopped inspections unless there was a risk-based need, it never stopped being the regulator and responded to whistleblowing and other concerns. Rosie Benneyworth, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care, said that the key aim of the CQC is to change people’s lives for the better, and it will use the regulation and its influence to do this.
The 5 Key Questions remain the same; however, inspectors may not ask about all of these when they speak to you, but they will continue to focus on leadership within the Well-Led domain and also how Patients continue to access your service, and how safe you are as a provider.
Inspections to Date
John Milne, Senior National Dental Advisor, advised that around half of the 5,000 Practices have been inspected over the last 5 years, which is in line with the anticipated rate of 10% of Practices inspected annually. This will continue moving forward, and the CQC will be looking at infection prevention and control as part of the Safe domain due to a number of whistleblowing concerns in this area made to the CQC.
Access to Dental Records
Moving forward, the CQC will review a trial it has been undertaking with 30 Practices around access to dental records. The CQC has a legal right to access these records, and it wishes to do this in line with all other regulations. The CQC is concerned about inequalities in all care areas and is strengthening its work to address these issues.
The TMA will run into 2021 with further consultations from January and a review in May 2021 which means that this approach will be in place for at least 8 months, so it is vitally important that you are prepared and have all of your audits, risk assessments, policies and procedures and employee welfare checks.
In terms of ratings, conversations continue to take place about if ratings will be introduced as the CQC has been doing for the last 5 – 6 years, so the CQC is still considering and listening to thoughts around this.
What You Should Do Now
- Make sure that you have all policies and procedures up to date; risk assessments completed; and a robust infection prevention and control audit completed with an appropriate action plan to meet all requirements
- Document all access changes during COVID-19 so this can be shared with the CQC, and be aware of the key questions within the new TMA