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Care Quality Commission sets out plans for a fresh start for dental services regulation

18 August 2014
  • Media

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is continuing to change the way it regulates and inspects health and social care services. Today (Monday 18 August), CQC has published its views on potential changes to the way it regulates primary care dental services in England from 2015 onwards.

The CQC primary care dental signposting statement, ‘A fresh start for the regulation and inspection of primary dental care services’, comes ahead of a formal consultation and the start of trial inspections in November 2014. The new approach to regulation and inspection will be developed in partnership with other national organisations, dental care providers and people who use dental services.

In making sure that people receive safe, effective, high quality care, the CQC wants to ensure that regulation is proportionate and appropriate to the different sectors it regulates.

The statement considers whether every inspection team should include a dental specialist advisor and people with extensive understanding of dental services, acting as ‘experts by experience.’

Because of the view that people using dental services are less likely to experience poor care, CQC proposes to inspect 10% of providers, focusing attention upon those that are seen as ‘cause for concern’, in the short term from spring 2015. However, if CQC does have any concerns about any service they will conduct inspections. CQC will also be seeking views on whether to provide ratings to dental practices after 2016.

For its new style dental inspections, CQC intends to make better use of intelligence about services and take a collaborative approach with partners such as the General Dental Council, NHS England and the NHS Business Services Authority in monitoring dental care standards. The regulator also wants to make sure that comments and feedback from the public and groups such as Healthwatch are integral to regulation.

The proposals also note that CQC intends to develop its role in encouraging improvement through its inspection reports and exploration of themed reviews.

Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services, said:

“This statement marks a great opportunity to start discussions about the issues that matter most to the dental sector and people who use dental services.  Our priority is to take a more collaborative approach with our partners in order to monitor and improve dental care standards in future. 

“In future, we also want to increase our dialogue not only with providers but also with people accessing dental services and groups that represent them.

“I strongly encourage anyone with an interest in primary care dental services to share their thoughts with us at this initial signposting stage and when we launch our formal consultation this autumn.  By doing so, we can we work together to ensure that our future approach can best serve both providers and people using dental services.”

To share your comments and responses to our primary care dental signposting statement, please send an email to:


Last updated:
30 May 2017

Notes to editors

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.


When inspecting, CQC asks five key questions about practices and services, are they:

  • Safe?
  • Effective?
  • Caring?
  • Responsive to people’s needs?
  • Well-led?