Specialist dental lawyer and NASDAL member Jenin Khanam has condemned the Care Quality Commission’s confusing requirements for registered managers of dental practices and called for greater consistency.
Jenin Khanam has recently advised two dental practice owners going through the process of making a Care Quality Commission (CQC) registration and both applicants encountered problems – but for conflicting reasons.
Jenin explained that when registering a dental practice with the CQC, applications for the registered owner and the registered manager must be made at the same time. In small practices, the owner can also be the registered manager but two applications must still be made.
‘It’s not clear what the priorities of the CQC are and different offices appear to make inconsistent decisions.’
As an example, she shared the experiences of two clients. In one instance, she said, a dentist’s application to become the registered manager of the practice was turned down because he was not deemed to have sufficient managerial experience.
He reapplied to the CQC having signed up for some management training and his application was accepted – despite there being no evidence he had actually completed the courses.
Meanwhile, Jenin has been advising a practice manager who had inherited a dental practice from his dentist father. While his father had been alive he had run the practice and introduced all the managerial protocols relating to health and safety, human resources, diversity and cross-infection. Following the death of his father, he needed to register the practice in new names.
‘Although the new practice-owner was supremely experienced as a manager,’ said Jenin, ‘and had appointed a dentist to be a director of the company, his application to be the registered manager was turned down.
‘As a patient of a practice, what matters is that the dentists have the clinical skills and the surgeries are appropriately sterilised. Those are the key things. The CQC’s policies appear to lack consistency, fairness and transparency. I feel very unhappy that two clients have had such frustrating experiences.’