Navigating Dental Practice Compliance

Read this article to learn how to register with the CQC, understand dental practice regulations and maintain compliance for your practice.

Navigating Dental Practice Compliance

Are you setting up a new dental practice or moving your current practice to a new location?

Navigating the guidelines and regulations of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) can be a challenging and time-consuming process.

This article outlines the necessary steps to take, such as:

  • Understanding the regulations and their implications
  • Having a continuous process of monitoring and updating operations in line with the regulations
  • Tips for a successful compliance process and overcoming barriers
  • How we can assist with documentation, project management and more to ensure a successful application

CQC Regulations and NHS Approval

It is imperative to be familiar with the guidelines and regulations of the CQC when setting up a new practice or moving to a new location.

You must register and approve your practice before you can begin accepting patients.

You are prohibited from providing services for which you are not licensed and negotiating CQC registration could be a sizeable task.

The CQC is responsible for regulating, inspecting and monitoring health and social care services in England, and dentists who wish to become an NHS provider must meet their stringent standards, although NHS approval will need to be completed first.

Knowing what is necessary to become compliant with the CQC and how to achieve this can be very challenging, like the ‘what came first? The chicken or the egg’ scenario.

So, it is important to take a methodical approach to ensure success.

Understanding the Requirements for CQC Compliance

Following the right steps to become compliant with the CQC is critical for any dental practice to establish and maintain successful operations.

For instance, a dental practice should understand the regulations and its implications, plan the process of becoming compliant, and have a continuous process of monitoring and updating its operations in line with the regulations.

As part of this process, you should ensure that the premises, resources and staff are all adequately trained and meet all the requirements.

All staff should have knowledge of how to follow effective infection control procedures before any patient contact, and the practice must ensure that all medical devices have a regular maintenance schedule and are calibrated.

Everything within the practice must be in place and operational before the inspector books a visit.

Overcoming Barriers to CQC Compliance

The largest barrier for dentists seeking CQC compliance for a new practice or relocation is the time frame of this process.

The CQC requires that all dental practices demonstrate a high standard of care and practice, as well as being compliant with other regulatory requirements.

This is done in stages and, in essence, the CQC will not sign off a new or relocated practice until it is operational, and you cannot book patients until it is signed off.

From the date of application validation to the date of notice of the decision, the process takes ten weeks on average.

For best practice when a relocation is being arranged, the ideal scenario would be to have both the old and new practices running during this period, so moving one surgery at a time if possible.

This would mean that the old practice can keep booking patients while the new practice is awaiting a visit from the CQC inspector.

Our flexibility accommodates the inflexibility of this process. Our project management service is responsive and agile with experience in this area.

After the visit, we can deal with any action points given by the inspector.

Steps to Take When Applying for CQC Certification

When applying for CQC compliance, it is important to ensure that the practice has all the necessary paperwork and documentation ready.

To register as a new provider, follow this link from the CQC, their guide covers the application, how long it takes to register, DBS checks, supporting documents, references and financial viability.

If you are changing location, this is classed as ‘making changes to your registration'. In this case you must add a new location and then when the relocation is complete, remove the old location.

For more information about site visits, see this page regarding the CQC’s guidance.

Valid documentation would include having a contract with the NHS (if necessary), submitting an application form to the CQC, providing evidence of providing quality care and having a valid policy for ensuring patient safety.

Additionally, it is essential that the practice meets all relevant standards for the CQC, such as complying with regulatory requirements and demonstrating a high level of commitment to patient care.

Eclipse Dental can assist with documentation in the form of feasibility drawings, such as the placement of autoclaves and bins. They would look for high-quality technical drawings and plans.

Navigating Dental Practice Compliance

Tips for a Successful Compliance Process

To ensure a successful CQC compliance process, it is important to be prepared.

This means having all relevant paperwork and documentation ready to go, preparing staff for the review process, and ensuring that the practice meets all relevant standards.

Additionally, it is important to maintain open and honest communication with the CQC throughout the process, address any concerns in a timely manner and ensure the accuracy of information.

The process can seem overwhelming and intimidating, often leading to dentists feeling discouraged.

Some dentists may feel that the CQC compliance process is too difficult and time-consuming. They may worry that their application will be unsuccessful, or that they will not be able to meet all of the requirements.

By following these steps, dentists can make sure that they are prepared for the review process so that their application can be successful.

Additionally, it is a good idea to have a plan in place for continuing to maintain CQC compliance once the application has been approved.

This includes regularly auditing and monitoring patient care, documenting any changes made to the practice, and ensuring that equipment remains in line with relevant standards.


I hope this article has provided helpful information on understanding the CQC and navigating the application process for dental practices.

If you have any further questions or would like to learn more about the process, please reach out and we would be happy to assist.

We offer advice, supply and installation of equipment, flooring, cabinetry and decontamination areas.

By understanding the unique needs of each practice, we design and build spaces that work for the dental practitioner, their staff and their patients.

We also provide equipment maintenance, staff training and review how it’s working for you on an ongoing basis, to ensure high performance and minimum downtime for the practice.

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