Ensuring compliance with CQC diktats is now a major factor in every aspect of dental practice management – and seems certain to continue absorbing significant staff time and resources.
CQC regulations also apply to employment, and principals need to be fully aware of their obligations when interviewing and engaging new members of staff, or even when dispensing with their services.
The relevant CQC Regulation 21, which relates to outcome 12, requires all registered dental practice owners when hiring new staff to ‘operate effective recruitment procedures.’
While much of the regulation translates into the simple application of common sense when hiring someone who will deal directly with the public, employers cannot afford the smallest margin for misunderstanding in this sensitive area.
Regulation 21 requires the employer to ascertain that the candidate is of good character, suitably qualified, suitably skilled, suitably experienced and physically and mentally fit to carry out the duties of the role for which they are applying.
In addition to determining the applicant’s potential or actual ability to carry out the role, the employer is also responsible for ensuring that the applicant’s necessary documentation is in place – CRB checks or references for example, or in the case of clinical staff who will perform regulated roles, current registration with the appropriate regulatory body, such as the GDC.
It is also the employer’s responsibility to take appropriate action (remedial, disciplinary or dismissal) if the employee acts in breach of his or her employment contract, becomes unable to continue working to a satisfactory standard or behaves in manner which endangers the public or other staff members.
The employer must also report any failure to observe professional regulatory requirements to the relevant regulatory authority.
For most employers CQC guidelines merely reinforce their own instincts – engaging patently incompetent or unqualified staff to perform responsible tasks within a health care environment is clearly folly; at the same time, it is worth emphasising that if problems do arise as a result of an employee’s actions, not only will the business be damaged but the employer may be personally held to account, both in law and by the relevant professional governing body.
The wider the pool of potential candidates, the greater the chance of engaging the ideal employee. Dental employers are advised to visit professional websites such as Dental Gateway whenever the need arises for replacement or additional practice staff.
Principals can register and advertise online, and take the opportunity to browse hundreds of job seekers’ CVs before collating their own shortlist and contacting the applicants directly.
CQC registration is continuing apace, and employers need to have confidence in the quality and integrity of their staff.
The easy, time-pressured option of simply engaging the first qualified applicant whenever a post needs to be filled, will not always yield the best result.
1. Regulation 21 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2010
For more information visit www.dentalgateway.co.uk or call 0845 094 4031.