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When we will inspect primary care dental services

  • Organisations we regulate,
  • Dental service

We will carry out comprehensive inspections of 10% of all practice locations.

We select practice locations for inspection on both a random basis and on the basis of risk.

All primary care dental providers registered with CQC must meet regulations, including the fundamental standards of care. We use indicators to help select practices that may be at greater risk of not meeting the legal requirements. These include:

  • any concern or risk identified about a provider from a previous inspection, or from other information
  • concerns or complaints received about a provider that relate to a possible breach of a regulation
  • safeguarding alerts
  • concerns received from members of staff (including whistleblowers)
  • concerns received from educational bodies

We continually monitor information about all services between inspections.

Announcing inspections

Inspections are usually announced. We feel that this is the most appropriate way to make sure our inspections do not disrupt the care you provide.

When we announce inspections, we will usually give two weeks’ notice to individual dental practices. The inspector will telephone your practice to announce the inspection and also send a letter to confirm the date.

Throughout the inspection process, the lead inspector and inspection planner will support and communicate with you by letter, email and telephone to help you to prepare for the day and know what to expect.

Unannounced inspections

We may also carry out an unannounced inspection, for example, if we have concerns about a practice or if we are responding to a particular issue or concern. This may be something identified at a previous inspection that we are following up, or new information.

At the start of these visits, the inspection team will meet with your practice’s senior partner or senior manager on duty at the time and, as with announced inspections, will feed back to you at the end of the inspection if there are any immediate concerns.

When we are following up concerns from a previous inspection, we will usually carry out an unannounced focused inspection.

The inspection team

Each inspection team is led by a CQC inspector with support from a Specialist Adviser. The Specialist Adviser who supports the inspector will have knowledge and experience of delivering dental care. As far as possible, we would also want to match the specific skills of the Specialist Adviser to the particular circumstances of your practice, for example, provision of orthodontic services or sedation services.

Teams will vary in size and composition depending on the services being inspected.

Last updated:
20 August 2019


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