Since 2008 dentists in Wales who provided private dental care were obliged to register with Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW). On 1 April 2017 the Private Dentistry (Wales) Regulations 2008 were replaced by The Private Dentistry (Wales) Regulations 2017.
Who they affect
All dental practices in Wales where private dental care is provided must have submitted their application to HIW for registration by 31 March 2018. Individual dentists will no longer be required to register with HIW to provide private dental care in Wales.
As long as the practice's application was submitted to HIW by 31 March 2018 the practice can continue to provide private dentistry. The processing of the application may take 16-18 weeks.
If the practice failed to meet this deadline they cannot provide private dentistry. They must submit an application as soon as possible, and once approved they may begin to provide private dentistry.
Dentists currently registered with HIW to provide private dental care need to maintain their individual registration until all practices where they provide private dental care are fully registered under the new regulations with HIW.
DCPs who provided direct access services from their own practice should have submitted their registration by 30 September 2017. Previously these practices were not registered with HIW nor were they inspected.
What the regulations cover
Although the new regulations have been extended, practices may well have many items already in place. Particular points to note are listed below.
- Prepare a statement of purpose to include enough detail for a reader to get a clear picture about the type of service provided and the people who use it.
- Compile a patient leaflet.
- Prepare written policies covering 17 specified areas of practice which include: arranging for the acceptance of patients; arranging the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients; the recruitment, induction and retention of employees; their employment conditions and training requirements. The legislation text gives full information about what should be included.
- Nominate a 'registered manager' if the registered provider is an organisation, partnership or not in full time day-to-day charge of the practice.
- Comply with requirements to demonstrate fitness of the surgery premises.
- Ensure that there are enough suitably trained persons to maintain patient safety and that each has a written contract, job description and receives regular appraisals.
- Assess and monitor the quality of service provision. Regularly seek views on the quality of the service provided, analyse incidents and mange risks.
- Establish and operate effectively a clear and accessible complaints procedure. Maintain and give to HIW any documents relating to the handling of a complaint.
- Ensure that the practice is financially viable for the purpose of achieving the aims and objectives set out in its statement of purpose.
- Notify HIW of any allegation of misconduct against a member of the team resulting in actual or potential harm to a patient.
- Dentists or dental care professionals who use lasers for dental treatment will no longer have to register as an independent hospital to use this equipment. Their use will be covered in the HIW dental registration process.
Where to go for more information
The above list is not exhaustive and provides only a summary of the main points. For more information, the full legislation is available on the Gov.uk website.
If you're a DDU member and you have questions about your obligations or responsibilities, contact our dento-legal advice line for further guidance and advice.
You can also contact the registration team at the Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, with details available on the HIW website.