Dentists call for clarity over CQC fees

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) must explain calculations behind proposed fee scale to register dental practices, warns the British Dental Association (BDA).

The BDA is calling on the CQC to explain the calculations behind its proposed fee scale to register dental practices, following concerns that single practice owners could end up subsidising owners of larger practices.

With registration fees for one practice proposed to start at £1,500, the sliding scale means that the more practices a provider owns, the cheaper the unit cost, despite the CQC’s assertion that the cost of registration would be linked directly to providers’ responsibility for meeting the essential standards.

The CQC’s consultation on registration fees for dental practices gives no indication of the actual cost to CQC of regulating dental practices.

In a letter addressed to the CQC’s chief executive, Cynthia Bower, the BDA asks her to explain the details underpinning the proposed fees.

Susie Sanderson, chair of the BDA’s executive board, said: ‘The profession has already expressed grave concerns over the Commission’s regulation of dental services and the poor handling of the registration process.

‘The lack of clarity over how the proposed fee scale was calculated will do nothing to allay these concerns.

‘In the first instance, how did the CQC calculate that the minimum fee to register a practice annually should be £1,500, when the fee to register a practice in the equivalent body in Wales is under £100? And how can it be equitable that a large number of small providers will effectively subsidise the smaller number of large providers, whether NHS trusts or chains of practices?’

John Milne, chair of the BDA’s general dental practice committee, said: ‘If the CQC is genuinely interested in feedback from dentists on its proposed fee scale, then it must explain how it calculated it, otherwise this is a pointless exercise and will only further erode the profession’s confidence in a regulation process which seems unnecessary.’

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