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Organisation of your Dental Policies and Procedures
I am frequently asked, “What’s the best way to organise practice polices and procedures now that the new Fundamental Standards have been introduced? The concerns people express are about policy duplication and storing polices so that compliance with Clinical Governance , GDC Standards and NHS regulations can be demonstrated.
Start with the end in mind
To answer this question is it important to go back to the strategic aims of all dental regulation, which is to ensure that dental care provision in the UK is of a high stand, safe and directly meets the needs of patients. All of which can be achieved through a single set of polices and procedures. To organise polices and procedures by Standards, Regulations, Outcomes or any other local measure is confusing and promotes duplication, leaving a margin of error if updates are not embedded across the board. A robust way to organise your practice polices is by their area of activity. Each section should have a clear index. To link to all sets of regulations ‘Policy Distribution Guide’ for each set of requirements will ensure that you can go directly to the relevant measures for each requirments.
QCS Dental Management System
Your QCS folder is organised in the following sections, to provide the required actions for the broad scope of dental regulations:
- Administration: In every section of the folder, polices will relate across to other areas of regulation. For example polices for consent, confidentiality, Information Governance, as well as internal requirments for banking, communication with patients, will appear in Clinical Governance and Quality Assurance Sections.
- Clinical Governance: Clinical Governance is defined a framework through which NHS organisations are accountable for continually improving the quality of their services and safeguarding high standards of care by creating an environment in which excellence in clinical care will flourish.”(NHS England). Although this is an HHS Requirments it is important to note that the Pillars of Clinical Governance are Good Practice for practices without an NHS contract. The Seven Pillars of Clinical Governance are education and CPD, clinical audit, clinical effectiveness, research and development, openness, risk management and information governance. Polices and procedures of each of these areas will be relevant in more than one area of regulation.
- Health and Safety: Health and Safety regulations are now an integral part of working life, in particular risk assessment which appears in many areas of regulation. The safety and well being of patients is of paramount importance, and so robust ways to maintain safety standards will be mapped in numerous polices and procedures.
- Human Resources: One of the biggest concerns for many practices is avoiding the disruption of employer/employee disputes. Although good HR management can help to deal with issues before they become problematic, the most significant benefit of good HR management is in the opportunities it offers to engage the team and motivate them to achieve the practice’s goals. This set of polices have relevance in GDC and CQC Standards as well as being an excellent tool for business success.
- Quality Assurance: Quality Assurance applies within each area of management. The aspects of good management such as making sure each area of policy is up- to- date and fit for purpose requires a robust set of procedures for policy review and audit which apply to every area of regulation.
- Maintenance: In this section the physical maintenance of the practice’s equipment is set out in practical terms. This has strong links to Health and Safety and many of these polices here will have links to other sections of the manual.
In answer to the original question
Your practice’s polices and procedures, whether stored electrically, or on paper are one body of work with one single purpose. They should have a master index which is not linked to any individual regulatory sets, plus a set of specific indexes for each regulatory code issued by bodies such as the CQC, GDC, NHS and others.