The British Dental Association (BDA) has lent its support to the proposed delay to the regulation of general medical practice by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and renewed its argument that the registration of dentistry should be reconsidered too.

The arguments are made in the BDA’s response to the Department of Health’s (DH) consultation on the registration of primary care medical services providers with CQC.

The BDA’s response highlights the severe policy and administrative difficulties experienced by CQC that adversely affected dentists, and warns that colleagues in general medical practices should not be subjected to the same problems their dental counterparts have been. It also laments the failure of CQC to properly utilise existing professional expertise in dentistry, citing the scaling back of the Dental Reference Service’s inspection regime to focus only on outliers and the failure of CQC to accept offers of help from the BDA until a point in the process when it was too late to avoid extreme inconvenience for practitioners. Additionally, the BDA response says that during the registration process, CQC often gave conflicting information and advice on requirements.

The evidence for CQC registration of dentistry is also questioned by the BDA’s submission, arguing that there was never any likelihood that regulation of dentistry would be appropriate or proportionate to dental services and that some areas of regulation were justified by out-of-date information. Damningly, it also asks why, when DH correctly identified the risks involved in pursuing the process when CQC might not be ready, unrealistic implementation dates were pursued.

Susie Sanderson, chair of the BDA’s Executive Board, said: ‘The very fact that the Government is consulting on delaying the implementation of CQC regulation for general medical practice speaks volumes for how well thought through the role of the organisation and its capacity to fulfil it have been. Dentists’ protestations that they were suffering at CQC’s hands during the farcical registration process were brushed off at the time, but DH must now concede that there are serious problems, apologise to dentists for the chaos they have made them endure and start making amends by reconsidering CQC’s role in regulating dental services.’