How will the CQC monitor compliance?
Following completion of the registration exercise earlier this month, providers of dental services in England and Wales will now be shifting their attention to continued compliance with the Essential Standards of Quality and Safety.
What is the CQC expecting in terms of compliance?
The CQC will continuously check all information it has about a provider of dental services. It will gather information from people who use services, the General Dental Council and also through the notifications that providers must make. The CQC will use the information within the Quality and Risk Profile for each provider to make decisions about whether or not the Essential Standards are being met, how often to inspect and whether it needs to follow up on any concerns.
Frequency of Reviews
Where the CQC has no concerns it intends to inspect each location once every two years. Where there is a concern the reviews/inspections will be more frequent. Initially the CQC will monitor those providers of dental services who were required to make key improvements. The focus will then shift to all providers of dental services.
As soon as a review is underway details of the reasons for the review will be published on the CQC website.
What is a Planned Review?
During a planned review, the CQC will check the 16 Essential Standards that most directly relate to the quality and safety of care to patients of the dental practice.
The CQC will start by reviewing the information contained within the Quality and Risk Profile for that provider. If necessary, the CQC will use its powers to gather more information, including asking a provider to ‘self assess’ whether or not it is meeting the Essential Standards.
What is a Responsive Review?
If the CQC has concerns it will carry out a ‘responsive review’. Such a review will be triggered by information the CQC receives that gives cause for concern. Inspectors will use their local knowledge to determine whether it is a concern that requires further investigation. A responsive review focuses on the areas of concern and the Essential Standards to which the concerns relate.
How will the CQC respond to concerns?
The CQC will make a judgement about compliance with the Essential Standards. If you are not meeting those Standards, it will look at the impact on your patients of and the likelihood whether the issues/circumstances will happen again.
Where a provider has issues that can be resolved quickly and easily the CQC should discuss these with that provider. If the concerns are more significant then the CQC can set an ‘improvement action’ for the provider and require it to send a report detailing how it intends to make improvements.
If the Essential Standards are not being met the CQC can set a ‘compliance action’. This also requires a report to be prepared by that provider setting out how it will make improvements to ensure compliance.
If a provider does not make improvements once required to do so by the CQC, then the CQC has the ability to take direct enforcement action. The CQC has a wide range of enforcement powers that are intended to enable it to take direct and swift action should it consider it necessary to do so.
As a last resort and in the most extreme cases, the CQC has the power to cancel a provider’s registration.
Publishing the outcome of a review
Once a review has been completed and the facts contained within the report agreed with the provider, the report will be published on the CQC’s website. If the CQC feels that it is necessary to take enforcement action, then the CQC will not publish its report in this way until the representations and appeals process has concluded. If it decides to take emergency enforcement action then it will state this on its website immediately. Local, national and trade media will normally be briefed where compliance or improvement actions are set or where enforcement action is taken.