I recently wanted to add another dentist to our existing partnership registration with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) at one particular practice. The dentist has been working there as an associate there for many years and had a desire to become the third partner.
Sounds simple right? Common sense would suggest it to be relatively straight forward because we are already registered with the legal status as a partnership and have been since 2011. We are only adding one more partner, otherwise it is the same practice, same patients, same nurses, same materials, same everything.
Jumping through hoops
Unfortunately, the CQC has a very good way of making something that should be simple very complicated. As our partnership was registered before 2013, the CQC informed me of the following steps that would need to be undertaken in order to add a third partner:
- Cancel our current registration as a provider at that location
- Cancel our current registration as a manager at that location
- Change our statement of purpose at our other locations
- Register as a new provider
- Register a new manager
- Create a new statement of purpose for this new partnership
- Each dentist to have a new enhanced CQC DBS at the cost of over £150.
Once this bundle is put together, it has to be submitted all together. With the same date on every document and all the data has to completely match (even though some of the fields on the forms don’t work properly). One mistake anywhere and the application is rejected and sent back to you. Thank you very much.
In effect, dentists are being asked by the CQC to start a new registration from scratch. I guess it has never heard of the Government’s red tape challenge designed to reduce unnecessary paperwork! To complete all of the above meant completing over 120 pages of application forms. The application to be a new provider is 67 pages long alone and that’s without me even adding any text.
One of the questions on the application was how can we ensure our service is caring.
How has it gotten to the stage that a professional dentist, who has been looking after patients for some 20 years and treating dental disease, has to provide written evidence on an application to prove that I care? I decided to complain about the overall process and completed the online complaints form on the CQC website to do this, asking for a response. Well over a week later, not even an acknowledgement from the CQC.
I started to think about how it would be deemed if we treated our patients in this manner. What would the CQC say if we had a 120-page application that a patient would need to complete in order to become a patient of the practice? If a patient made a complaint to the practice and we didn’t acknowledge it according to our timetable of dealing with complaints? If we forced patients to ensure and provide evidence that they have informed their old dental practice that they were no longer going to be using their services, before joining ours?
These would all be deemed unacceptable, but yet as dentists we once again are forced to jump through these regulatory hoops and do it all with a smile on our face. From now on, in my books, CQC stands for complete quango cessation.