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What to expect when the CQC inspect

The Care Quality Commission (“CQC”) has stated that it intends to inspect approximately 10% of dental providers and that it will not apply ratings following inspections.

There will be two types of inspection:

Comprehensive inspections will be carried out at 10% of registered practices.

  • Addresses all five key questions CQC asks of services (safe, effective, caring, responsive, well-led).
  • Usually takes one day at the practice.
  • Likely to include a specialist adviser.
  • Usually announced two weeks before the inspection.

Focused inspections will be carried out as a follow up to a previous inspection, or in response to a particular concern.

  • Will not address all five key questions CQC asks of services
  • Team composition and size will depend on the concern(s)
  • May be conducted in partnership with one of the CQC’s partners (for example, NHS England)
  • May be unannounced. 

The CQC states that:

A few weeks prior to a routine inspection the CQC will request information from the NHS England (Area Team) and the local Healthwatch to obtain intelligence about a Provider of Service.

  • Two weeks ahead of the planned visit, the Provider will be notified of the inspection date.
  • The CQC will request some advance information and the inspector will discuss the agenda for the visit.
  • Patient comment cards and posters advertising the inspection will be sent to the practice.
  • The inspection may be accompanied by a dental expert. The inspection will be a combination of interviews with staff and patients and reviewing policies, procedures and data.
  • The inspection will be completed in one day.
  • At the end of the inspection, the inspector will hold a feedback session, and a draft report will then be sent to the Provider to be checked for factual accuracy prior to publication on the CQC website.

The CQC has produced information about its new approach to regulating and inspecting primary care dental services.

You may find it helpful to review the CQC documents:

Some practitioners find it helpful to run through a mock inspection with their team beforehand.