Regulation for private practices discussed at Holyrood

BDA supports proposals but raises concerns over fees and definition of ‘independent clinics’

21 March, 2016 / infocus

The BDA has put its support behind the proposed regulation of private dental clinics but has raised concerns about the definition of ‘independent clinics’ and the potential costs involved.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) issued a public consultation on the proposed fees for the regulation of independent health care services in November last year and the BDA’s director for Scotland, Pat Kilpatrick, presented the association’s written evidence to the Scottish Parliament last month (February).

In its submission, the BDA said that it agreed that independent healthcare needed to be regulated and inspected but that the use of existing inspection systems should be considered. The association also said that it had concerns that “the introduction of a flat fee for registration was inappropriate due to the range of sizes of independent clinics. We would expect the costs involved to be less for a smaller clinic as opposed to a larger one”.

It also noted its concerns about the definition of ‘independent clinic’ since beauticians working in beauty salons who carry out teeth whitening without any formal training or regulation might avoid the scrutiny of HIS. The BDA asked the committee how they intended to legislate to avoid this.

One private dentist from Grampian said he felt the proposals were flawed. “Why does a practice that is 100 per cent private face a fee of up to £3,500 per annum, and yet a practice that is 99 per cent private face no fee, as they still fall within the NHS category, as indicated by HIS? Surely a sliding scale based upon NHS commitment levels and size of practice would make more logical sense?”

A spokesperson for Healthcare Improvement Scotland said: “The focus of regulation will be on ensuring safe, effective and high quality care for users of independent clinics across Scotland.

“Where appropriate, regulation and inspection will be used to drive up the standard of care in Scotland to the benefit of patients and the public.”

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