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Cqc Regulation Will Cost Dentists Thousands Not Benefit Patients Say

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Plans drawn up to have dentists regulated by the Care Quality Commission will cost practices thousands of pounds each in extra administration and provide no significant benefit to patients, dental law experts claim.


Registering with the CQC will cost a dental practice up to £5,700 in the first year and hundreds of pounds a year thereafter, according to Government calculations uncovered by the Dental Law Partnership (DLP).


Introducing the new regime would also incur significant costs to central Government, yet would still deliver little to no significant benefit to patients, argues DLP's joint managing director, Chris Dean.


"Based on the Government's own calculations, a dental practice in England will have to cope with costs - or 'disbenefits' as the Department of Health calls them - of several thousands of pounds in Year One alone," Mr Dean explained.


"There will then be the additional annual tasks of self-assessment and self declaration- which may amount to up to £1,500 a year - plus costs of £370 every time a practice is inspected. And let's not forget, none of these costs take into account any registration fees which the CQC itself may levy upon dentists!


"Yet all this is in order to comply with a new regulatory regime which we remain convinced will deliver no improvement in patient safety or treatment outcomes whatsoever.


"What is perhaps most worrying of all is that, not only does the Government expect the costs to individual small businesses to be this high, but the way it reaches its conclusions demonstrates, in my view, a complete failure to understand the real nature of dentistry in England and Wales today."


DLP has based its calculations on a publicly-available memo explaining the Health and Social Care Act 2008 Regulations, which introduced registration of dentists by the CQC.


The memo provides a cost impact assessment for the proposed CQC regulatory regime upon dental practices. It considers both solely private and also NHS practices and estimates a cost in Year One of between £1,600 and £5,700.


While these estimates are based on much lower costs for NHS dentists than private, DLP's analysis suggests that any reductions for existing NHS providers will be notional only.


If allowed to proceed, this legislation would require all dental professionals - including dentists, nurses, hygienist, therapists, dental technicians and orthodontic therapists - to register with the CQC by April 1 next year.


They will all then fall under the regulation of the CQC, which was set up by the Labour Government in 2009 to act as a watchdog for large health and social care organisations such as NHS Trusts and private hospitals.


The revelations over the cost of the new system come after hundreds of individual dentists, together with the Dental Professionals Association, supported a submission to the Government's YourFreedom by DLP calling for dentists to be placed outside CQC regulation.


In it, Mr Dean, himself a dentist and practising solicitor, claims that the CQC regulations duplicate those already in place and policed by the General Dental Council (GDC) and therefore will not improve patient safety in any way.


He said: "As both dentists and solicitors, we are profoundly concerned regarding the impact of the CQC regulation upon the delivery of dental care in England.


"It is not likely to produce any significant improvement in patient safety or treatment outcomes, yet will increase the administrative and financial burden upon individual practitioners, the CQC itself and, ultimately, on central government.


YourFreedom was launched by deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, as the Government sought the views of the public for which laws were unnecessary and harmful to small businesses.


While the Coalition Government has not yet promised to respond to any of the submissions made since the site was launched late last month, it is hoped that those which are well-supported will be considered for reform.


To support the submission against CQC regulation, register at http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk/ then visit http://bit.ly/cqcregulations to vote.





Editors Notes

The Dental Law Partnership (DLP) was established on 1st August 2000 by former dentists David Corless-Smith and Greg Waldron. 


 DLP is currently the only firm of solicitors with a team of in-house dental experts to advise its legal department on the specifics of each case. The team assesses all aspects of the patient's history, whether or not the dentist followed procedures correctly and if the case should be pursued further.


To date, it has acted on behalf of more than 3,000 people in England and Wales in respect of dentists failing to provide their patients with adequate care.


DLP is a member of the Law Society and is a Lexcel-accredited practice.  DLP provides clients with a range of funding options with the majority of cases being run on a conditional fee agreement.