More CQC inspections of dental services

The CQC is planning on inspecting 10% of dental care services in England from spring 2015 focusing on services which are seen as “cause for concern”.

A fresh start for the regulation and inspection of dental care services, is referred to by CQC as a “signposting statement”and sets out CQC’s initial thoughts on a new regulatory model for the sector. CQC want to ensure that its regulation of dental care services is proportionate and appropriate to the different sectors it regulates.

CQC’s plans consider whether every inspection team should include a dental specialist advisor and people with extensive understanding of dental services. CQC is currently asking for comments and feedback from the public and healthcare groups to gain a better understanding of the risks within the primary care dental sector and, in particular, whether there is a link between the number of complaints and the actual risk to patient safety.

A fresh start for the regulation and inspection of dental care services sets out its plans for regular inspections of primary care dental services, including a commitment to carry out more inspections if it has concerns about a particular service.

Plans include:

• Ensuring the CQC’s regulation of dental care services is proportionate and appropriate to the different sectors it regulates.

• Considering whether every inspection team should include a dental specialist advisor and people with extensive understanding of dental services (called Experts by Experience).

• Making better use of intelligence.

Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services, said that the signposting stage “marks a great opportunity to start discussions about the issues that matter most to the dental sector and people who use dental services.  Our priority is to take a more collaborative approach with our partners in order to monitor and improve dental care standards in future… I strongly encourage anyone with an interest in primary care dental services to share their thoughts with us at this initial signposting stage and when we launch our formal consultation this autumn.  By doing so, we can we work together to ensure that our future approach can best serve both providers and people using dental services.”

A formal consultation and the start of trial inspections by the CQC will take place in November 2014. Issues for consultation will include whether to provide ratings to dental practices after 2016.

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