The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will discuss repayment options if practices are struggling to pay their registration fees, a meeting heard.
The British Association of Private Industry (BAPD) hosted a meeting with the CQC in a bid to discuss questions from the profession.
Among the attendees were John Milne, the senior national dental adviser.
Taking place on Friday 19 June, the introductory meeting follows a request by the association for a seat at the dental reference group.
The BAPD proposed a number of suggestions to the regulator – including discussions relating to its COVID-19 response.
The minutes show that the association said the CQC should have made its pandemic position clearer. Such as issuing a simple statement to set out what a provider can and cannot do.
However the CQC said it is not in its remit to do this. Current regulations means that unless a practice is judged to be in significant breach of the conditions of its registration, the CQC has no powers to propose that a registered provider should close.
Equally the regulator has no power to require an appropriately registered provider to remain open. However, the regulator said it ‘understands the frustration’ this may cause.
The meeting also discussed the matter of fees. It stated: ‘In the current year, in recognition of all the stress that practices are under, if a practice is struggling to pay the registration fee for the current year, then we will discuss repayment options with them.
‘The finance department is managing this. The issue of a fees reduction etc will not be clear until the next financial year.
‘Traditionally CQC will consult on its fees proposals for the coming financial year in the autumn. So we will highlight this opportunity for the BAPD to feed into the process at that stage.’
Other matters of the meeting include:
- Changing the term ‘inspection’ to ‘visit’. The BAPD says the former can suggest an element of criticism and lead to adversarial engagement rather than promote supportive dialogue
- The association reported that the lack of CQC guidance opened the door to an ‘unregulated industry of guidance providers’. Some of whom did not offer appropriate or best practice forms of advice. The regulator said it is willing to put out fresh ‘mythbusters’ to help clarify certain regulatory points
- The CQC is currently reviewing the way it regulates and have produced an Emergency Support Framework (ESF). The has an aim of supporting conversation with all providers it regulates.
Additionally, it was agreed that the BAPD and CQC will meet regularly to continue engagement and conversation.