Poll reveals dentists ‘unprepared’ for watchdog scheme

New research reveals that many dentists are unprepared for registration with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

With the government intent on retaining the requirements for registration by both NHS and private practices, the poll shows that – with only six months to go – 22% of those surveyed by admitted to being unprepared for registration.

A further 19% did not even know what CQC meant.

There is much debate in the profession as to the necessity for further regulation by the Care Quality Commission, which many in the profession arguing that it will simply duplicate procedures already performed by other bodies such as the GDC (revalidation) and the BDA’s Good Practice Scheme.

And last week, the CQC’s own annual staff survey exposed low staff morale revealing a lack of employee confidence in the organisation’s management.

Nevertheless, with the new government ‘s recent commitment to retaining registration for dental practices, those who do not fulfil the requirements run the risk of having their licence to practice removed.

The CQC took over from the Healthcare Commission on 1 April this year and dentists are part of a second wave of health professionals required to register with the watchdog.

This will be in addition to registration with the General Dental Council (GDC).

The intention is that the new CQC will operate as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for health and social services regulation in the UK and, under the new framework, all providers will be expected to conform to a single set of safety and quality requirements, with legislation in place to support this.

CQC registration becomes a legal requirement for all primary dental care providers by April 2011.

Dentists have until then to register in order to avoid breaking the law.

Any practices failing to comply with the agreed CQC standards could be reprimanded.

The actual procedure for registration needs to allow time for processing which means that some practices will be given a window for registration that could be as early as October.

But a large number of practices are seemingly unprepared. 

Greg Clay, sales and marketing director at Software of Excellence who conducted the survery, says: ‘This research of our customers was taken as a barometer of feeling in the profession and the fact that so many are unprepared is a cause for concern.

‘As the trend towards compliance continues, the use of a dedicated practice management system to ensure reporting systems are robust and efficient is even more vital than ever.’

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