Helen Craine joined Dental Elite practice sales in 2015 and is an integral part of the Business Support team. She is responsible for managing all of the CQC applications for Dental Elite’s clients, which can be deemed as a minefield by many of the buyers and vendors who trust us to guide them through this process. Here, she details what you need to know about CQC when buying a dental practice.
Buying a dental practice is one thing, but making sure that you are registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is something else entirely. For a smooth transition into becoming a dental provider of a purchased practice and easy navigation through the process – which can be complex – you should consider these top tips.
Get a head start on your DBS check
There is a lot of work involved in becoming a dental care provider, which means there is a lot that can go wrong. To give yourself the best chance of completing the application accurately and on time, don’t wait until the last minute to get started. You will also need to undergo Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks before you can submit your application to CQC. Known to take as long as eight weeks to be returned, leaving this until the last minute could set your sale back significantly, especially when your bear in mind that the Metropolitan Police are currently taking months to turnaround these checks!
Don’t forget that counter signature
As part of the DBS process you must procure a CQC countersigned DBS, not just one you can get off the internet. If you do not do this, your number will be invalid and your application will fail. But remember – the countersigned document has to be no more than six months old at the point the application is submitted, so don’t get it done too far in advance. Even if you have an in-date one there is no guarantee the person you are buying off will, and then your DBS could expire whilst you are waiting for their check to come back!
Statement of purpose
The other thing you need to do before submitting your application is to write a statement of purpose outlining your aims and objectives, the services you will be providing, different needs you will meet, contact details and your practice’s legal entity. This could take several days to prepare and requires a lot of different information to complete, so get organised to keep ahead of schedule. If you are buying or financing through Dental Elite we will draft most of this for you.
You may need to appoint a registered manager
If in the event you are looking to incorporate your practice rather than practise as a sole trader, you will need to appoint a registered manager. As you will need to submit their application at the same time as your new provider application, make sure everything is in order. You can be the registered manager as well though if you prefer.
Pick the right application
There are actually three different options for CQC application – individual, partnership or organisation. While it seems like an obvious statement, filling out the wrong type can, and does, happen resulting in a returned application and unnecessary delays. To prevent this, familiarise yourself with the type that you need and read carefully before submitting to CQC.
Give yourself time and space to complete the form
Filling in the main form can take as much as seven or eight hours and requires considerable concentration if you are doing it yourself. To give yourself the best chance of doing it right, clear your schedule in advance and make sure you have no environmental distractions. Obviously, you don’t have to fill out the application all in one sitting, but if you do choose to complete over different sessions, make sure you are 100 per cent focused on the task at hand every time. If you are buying or financing through Dental Elite, though, we will do this for you.
It’s all in the detail
One of the most common mistakes behind a rejected application is inaccurate or incomplete information – it can be something as simple as putting ‘Ltd.’ instead of ‘Limited’. As such, you must remember to put everything in full – that means no abbreviations, no acronyms and no missing details. It is also advisable to steer clear of the phrase ‘not applicable’. Unless you provide an explanation stating the reason why a certain field is not applicable to the dental practice, even if the reason seems obvious to you, it will not be accepted by CQC.
Dating and re-dating forms
When you come to send your application be sure to date the declaration with the day, month and year of submission – not when you started the form, as the signature expires after two weeks. Should you need to resubmit your application to CQC for any reason, remember to change all the dates!
Facing the interview
Once your application has been accepted, CQC will arrange to meet you for an interview to assess your fitness to practice and examine the relevant documents. To pass, you need to demonstrate your suitability and that everything you listed on your application is true. The best you can do is prepare and organise for the interview to the best of your ability.
Get the right help
Due to the complexity of the process and the fact that so many aspects can go wrong, it is always best to utilise the services of a specialist dental agency. At Dental Elite we offer not-for-profit CQC application support alongside our acquisition services to ensure that buyers complete the transaction as quickly and smoothly as possible. For buyers using Dental Elite or our finance division, DE Finance, our team will help with every aspect of the application and interview completely free of charge.
Your CQC application is not to be underestimated when you are buying a dental practice. With our experience and vast knowledge of the sector and process, we can help you get the best results.