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To ask the Secretary of State for Health
(1) if he will ensure that inspection of dental practices by the Care Quality Commission will only be undertaken by inspectors with appropriate dental expertise;
(2) what plans he has to use the knowledge and expertise of dental reference officers in the inspection of dental practices by the Care Quality Commission;
(3) what plans he has to use the knowledge and expertise of dental practice advisers in the regulation of dental practices.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is responsible for its own operational system and the Department is not involved in its inspection procedures. However, we are assured by the CQC that full training on the inspection of dental services is available to all the CQC staff and it is confident that its inspectors can effectively assess dentists' compliance with the registration requirements.
The CQCs inspectors have access to specialist advice when required across all the sectors it regulates. We understand that there is an intention to increase this specialist provision and that the CQC is considering utilising dental reference officers for this purpose. The CQC employs a national advisor on dentists for two days a week.