EXCLUSIVE: New system to root out rotten dentists
WATCHDOGS are planning a crackdown on Britain’s worst dentists with the launch of a new national ranking system.
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Under the proposals, dentists will be given Ofsted-style ratings, allowing patients to easily identify the best and worst. Visits will be made to 1,000 practices, to be rated from “outstanding” to “inadequate”.
The plans are being released only days after it was revealed that GPs’ surgeries will be rated and the worst shut down. The Care Quality Commission will begin its dental inspections by focusing on practices which are a “cause for concern”. They will be assessed on whether they provide patients with safe, effective, caring, well-led and responsive treatment.
The proposals will be published tomorrow in a “signposting” statement from the CQC. It will also explore what further action may need to be taken against dentists identified as “failing” under the new inspections.
The proposals appear to mirror those launched by the CQC last week for GPs but do not currently include tougher sanctions under a “special measures” system.
Between November 2014 and April 2015 we will be testing a new approach to regulating primary dental services. We are also planning to do more to encourage improvement through our inspection work
Last night a CQC spokesman said the views of dentists and the public would be taken into account before giving the final go-ahead to rankings.
He added: “Between November 2014 and April 2015 we will be testing a new approach to regulating primary dental services. We are also planning to do more to encourage improvement through our inspection work.”
Last night Conservative MP Sir Paul Beresford, a practising dentist, gave a cautious welcome to the proposals. “Primary dental care in this country is of a very high standard compared with those in other parts of the world,” said the Mole Valley MP.
“I hope the CQC is very careful, if they bring these proposals into force, not to give a practice a damning report before seeing if they can take action to help raise standards.”
He said the CQC had already helped to improve the quality of dental care, although he remains concerned that those who carry out inspections are not always dentally trained.
The CQC is due to consider whether every inspection team should include a dental specialist and people with extensive understanding of dental services. The document, seen by the Sunday Express, is seeking views on potential changes to the way it regulates primary dental care in England from 2015 onwards. It comes before a formal consultation and the start of trial inspections in November.
As part of its new inspections, the CQC will make “better use of intelligence about services” and take a collaborative approach with partners such as the General Dental Council, NHS England and the NHS Business Services Authority.
Professor Steve Field, the CQC’s chief inspector of primary medical services, said: “I strongly encourage anyone with an interest in primary care dental services to share their thoughts with us at this initial signposting stage and when we launch our formal consultation this autumn.
“By doing so, we can work together to ensure our future approach can best serve both providers and people using dental services.”Share