Welsh government makes substantial changes to private dentistry regulations

Welsh GovernmentThe Welsh government has made substantial changes to regulations on private dentistry, including a new approach to HIW fees.

Among the changes included is a tiered scale of registration fees with Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) for private practices, and a stop to unreasonable bureaucracy the British Dental Association (BDA) Wales claims.

‘The Welsh government has listened to reason,’ Katrina Clarke, chair of BDA Wales General Dental Practice Committee, said.

‘Ministers’ original proposals risked heaping financial and bureaucratic burdens upon private dental practices for no obvious gain, leaving single-handed dentists facing a 660% increase in costs just to register with Healthcare Inspectorate Wales.

‘We were determined to fight our members’ corner.

‘The last thing this profession needs is more red tape and higher fees.’

Regulation changes

Changes have been made to the Care Standards Act 2000 (Extension of Application of Part 2 to Private Dental Practices) (Wales) Regulations 2017

The Welsh government has agreed to reduce the flat annual fee of £500 to a scale of fees, with single-handed practices, providing both NHS and private dentistry, paying £300.

Other changes made to the regulations include:

  • Reg 7(b) – the Welsh Government amended the length of notice required for staff leaving to within 28 days of the review. In addition it deemed it is sufficient to provide HIW with an updated list of DCPs annually
  • Reg 13(6)(c) – the government changed plans for private practices to provide occupational health services to patients
  • Reg 15(2) – the Regulations were amended to reflect all the protected characteristics of age; disability; gender reassignment; sex and sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; as described in the 2010 Equality Act
  • Reg 23(4)(a) – was removed after the Welsh Government agreed it would not be necessary to have additional interviews with patients or their representatives, given that the new regulations already contain several other provisions for gathering patient feedback and complaints
  • Reg 24 – the government substituted the requirement to submit practice accounts with the general requirement to ensure the practice is financially viable and only if there were concerns would further evidence be required
  • Reg 27(2) – the requirement for immediate notification to HIW every time members of staff left or joined the practice was removed
  • Para 5 of Schedule 7: Refund of annual fees – the BDA challenged the maximum refund of 50% and the Welsh government agreed that it is reasonable to grant a refund of up to 75% of the annual fee, if an application to cancel registration is submitted by a registered provider within six months of the due date for the fee to be paid.

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