I am principal dentist at 38 Devonshire Street, London, W1. I first heard about the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the new legislative requirements at the beginning of last summer when I very innocently attended a meeting at the BDA.
I had heard the initials CQC before but they had no real meaning to me. My realisation of the implications has been a gradual one.
My relationship with CQC started with the hope that it would go away. I’m sure I’m not the only dentist who scanned the list of government quangos to be cut praying that the CQC would be included… it was not.
I made contact with Fiona Stuart-Wilson from UMD Professiona and Tim Eldridge, the chairman of CODE and booked them to give an introductory seminar for Seminars@38 in November/December. I attended along with my team. Thank heavens we did.
Christmas was utterly hijacked by the application form and with the deadline of 31 December. My first reaction was to feel cross that we were all as a profession being put under such pressure. I am in private practice and if a patient isn’t treated with the utmost respect in every possible way, they vote with their feet.
When I got the the policy on safeguarding my staff from stress at work, I wanted to shout: ‘But what about me? Can I object to complying with this on the basis that I am feeling very stressed and want a break?’
Several of my new year’s resolutions had the letters CQC in them somewhere.
It took a couple of days. Well, maybe a week, actually, for me to see the whole thing more rationally. As the past couple of weeks have gone by, I have realised that there were – and still are – many, many gaps in our systems and, what the CQC has given us is a management checklist which is comprehensive.
I’m not saying it isn’t rather over the top in many ways, but it is complete.
The CQC compliance requires teamwork. It is not possible to do it alone. I am purposely emphasising the word ‘team’ as I am genuinely convinced that my practice’s successes so far are – and have been – down to my incredible team.
Achieving CQC compliance will further build that team. We have been given a framework to improve our team performance and to build in proper line management and communication.
We have the ultimate opportunity to get everything out on the meeting table and share the tasks until they are done. Full engagement by the team in every area of the practice will be the result and I truly believe it will be a positive. We will engage in the necessary training as a team and it will be beneficial.
I am not quite at the stage where I am ready to thank the CQC for doing this – the next few months are still to unfold and I will be truthful, good or bad.
Let’s say for now, I feel optimistic.
Next step: My team and I will attend Raj Majithia and Fiona Stuart-Wilson’s full day workshops in February on the subjects of clinical governance and audit, staffing and training, record keeping, treatment planning & consent, and CQC and the DCP.