The CQC has published a document entitled “A fresh start for the regulation and inspection of primary care dental services” in which the CQC sets out its “early thinking” regarding a new inspection and monitoring approach for dental practices. This note summarises the key points from that document.


The CQC reports that, from the inspections of primary dental care services carried out in the last two years, compared with other regulated services, dental services present a lower risk to patients safety. In part this is due to there being a number of organisations involved in monitoring dentists including the General Dental Council and NHS England. As such the CQC feels its new inspection and monitoring approach can be applied to dentists on a less frequent model of inspection

Monitoring, regulating and inspecting dental services

In 2013 the CQC published a new operating model of regulating care services consisting of:

  • Registration for those providing services;
  • Intelligent use of date, evidence and information to monitor services;
  • Using feedback from the public to inform judgements about services;
  • Inspections carried out by experts;
  • Informing the public about its judgements about care quality, including a rating system; and
  • The actions to be taken to require improvement.

This model is to be designed and modified specifically for the dental sector.

As such the CQC is aiming to inspect approximately 10% of providers starting from April 2015. Further and importantly the CQC is NOT intending to rate primary care dental services when its new operating regime starts in 2015/16 thereby avoiding the possibility of dental league tables.

CQC Priorities Moving Forward

The CQC sees the following as its priorities for primary care dental services moving forward:

  1. Ensuring that its definitions of quality and good outcomes are aligned with its partners and the way that standards are measured are similarly aligned. The CQC will work with its partners, particularly the local area teams of NHS England, to find out where the risks are in primary dental care.
  2. Using the CQC registration framework to ensure all new providers have the necessary capabilities, resources and leadership skills to meet the CQCs standards and legal requirements. Importantly they state they want to ensure that dental care providers have a positive experience of our registration process (!); a comment that may bring a wry smile to many.
  3. Focusing on ensuring that the public is protected from unsafe care. This will be done by restricting an inspection report around the five key questions of whether services are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led. An intelligence-driven model has been developed to assess the risk posed by providers. Again the CQC is keen to work with partners to develop this intelligence led monitoring.
  4. Looking at the experience of dental care enjoyed by certain population groups. Again the CQC will work with partners and its Chief Inspectors to explore the topics to be chosen although early suggestions include dental decay in children aged under five and oral care of people living in care homes.

If you would like any more information regarding any of the issues discussed in this blog, please contact our Commercial team on 0113 284 5000 or at

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