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Dentists want clarification over fees

The British Dental Association is calling for the Care Quality Commission to explain its registration fees for dentists more clearly.

All dentists must register with the regulatory body from next year, but there is already concern over added bureaucracy and the potential costs, as well as confusion over exactly how much each practice is expected to pay.

The BDA is calling for a clearer explanation of the proposed sliding scale for fees amid worries that smaller practices may end up subsidising larger ones. The cost for registration is set to start at £1,500, but the sliding scale will mean the greater number of practices a dentist owns, the less costly it will be per unit. This is despite assurances from the Care Quality Commission that the rate of registration would be directly linked to each dentist’s ability to meet the required standards.

In the consultation document there is no information about how much it will actually cost the CQC to regulate each dental surgery.

In a letter addressed to the CQC’s chief executive, Cynthia Bower, the BDA asks her to give an explanation of the factors at the bottom of the proposed fees.

Susie Sanderson, chair of the BDA’s executive board, said: “The profession has already expressed grave concerns over the Commission’s regulation of dental services and the poor handling of the registration process. The lack of clarity over how the proposed fee scale was calculated will do nothing to allay these concerns.”

“In the first instance, how did the CQC calculate that the minimum fee to register a practice annually should be £1,500, when the fee to register a practice in the equivalent body in Wales is under £100? And how can it be equitable that a large number of small providers will effectively subsidise the smaller number of large providers, whether NHS trusts or chains of practices?”

John Milne, chair of the BDA’s general dental practice committee, said: “If the CQC is genuinely interested in feedback from dentists on its proposed fee scale, then it must explain how it calculated it, otherwise this is a pointless exercise and will only further erode the profession’s confidence in a regulation process which seems unnecessary.”

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