CQC and Enforcement Action
The CQC has announced that it is prepared to take enforcement action against those practices who disregarded NHS England’s call for all routine dental care to cease.
The announcement was made after the CQC discovered some practices still undertaking routine care, including aerosol-generating procedures. Such actions would expose patients and staff to unnecessary risks of viral transmission of the coronavirus. Where such reports are found to be accurate, the CQC has confirmed it will use its regulatory powers.
There is some confusion as to whether private practices are still able to undertake emergency treatment. The CDO’s letter issued on 25th March 2020 advises that dentists should refer all patients that require emergency care to the local urgent care dental clinics being set up (these are locations now opening and being announced). However, the BDA has published guidance for its members in respect of undertaking urgent face-to-face treatment. We have also heard reports that the CQC have been informed of practices still undertaking emergency care but has declined to take action at this stage.
The BDA’s guidance for undertaking urgent face-to-face treatment asks practices to weigh up various risk factors, such as where advice/analgesics/antibiotics worked; is the patient showing signs of COVID-19; is the treating dentist vulnerable; the availability of PPE; the patient’s wishes. If you do decide to undertake any urgent treatment, make sure you carry out a risk assessment before you do and record your findings and ensure you have good notes in respect of advising the patient of the risks and their consent accordingly.
We will keep you posted as soon as more information on this comes to light.
Please note that the information contained in this article was correct at the time of writing. There may have been updates to the law since the article was written which may affect the information and advice given therein.