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​BDA slams CQC's inflation-busting hike in fees

27 March 2019


The BDA has condemned the 13% hike in regulatory fees for 2019/20, announced by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) today, with smaller providers disproportionally bearing more of the cost.


The trade union has called on the CQC to explain the rationale for this inflation-busting increase with the regulator consistently reporting that dental practices, when compared with all other sectors, present the lowest risk to patient safety.


The CQC is asked to recover the full cost of inspecting dental practices (around 1,000 every year) and fees fluctuate annually to reflect this but the BDA believes the fees levied from this April are unjustified. 


The dentists' trade union does not believe that the CQC has demonstrated adequately that there is a gap between CQC costs and fees recovered of £2million, as the regulator seeks to recover £600,000 from dentists this year. As dentistry is estimated to account for only 4.5% of the CQC's costs (but 20% of its registrants), the BDA questions why dentists are expected to pay 20% of the Commission's overheads.


Dental leaders also question why corporates will continue to pay proportionally less per surgery than the average high street provider, as the following examples illustrate. From April:


- A dental practice owner with one practice and one associate (or two partners in the same practice) will pay £747, whereas a corporate with 30 locations, will pay £332 per practice;


- A dental practice owner with two practices will pay £1,593 (£797 for each practice), whereas a corporate with 30 locations, will pay £332 per practice ie £465 per practice less.


BDA Chair Mick Armstrong said:


"The CQC knows that the profession is delivering safe and high-quality care for our patients so we are perplexed why this year's fees are linked to such a high backdoor tax.


"We need to know why the cost for registration, monitoring and inspection processes is so expensive for dentists, how these are divided up and what the regulator is doing to curb these rises


"The BDA raised these concerns with the CQC in our robust response to the regulator's consultation on fees but these questions have still not been addressed. We welcome the chance to discuss them further with the CQC in the near future.


"Dentists are willing to pay our fair share, but not a penny more.


"We also have to ask how it can be fair to smaller providers – the backbone of high street dentistry – to pay more as a percentage of what they earn than corporate providers."


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