RQIA hits back over registration criticism

BDA accusations refuted by regulatory authority

The body responsible for the compulsory registration of private dentistry in Northern Ireland has hit back at accusations that dentists have been left in the dark over the whole process.

Earlier this year, the British Dental Association (BDA) in Northern Ireland accused the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) of failing to provide any written communication directly to practices detailing the process and requirements of registration, or the timeline for registering.

Following an amendment to the Independent Health Care Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005, introduced on 25 January, the regulation of private dentistry in the province was handed to the RQIA, effective on 1 April. All 394 private practices in NI are now subject to these regulations and must register with the RQIA by 13 May.

However, in late February the BDA highlighted that there had been no communication from the authority, saying the RQIA was expecting dentists to “comply with unpublished deadlines, without providing guidance on the key information dentists need to know”.

The RQIA has responded by saying that since early February they have presented at two major events – one organised by the Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency and the other by the Northern Area Local Dental Committee (LDC).

It argues that both events were attended by more than 200 dental practitioners and they have also met with Denplan and Oasis, as well as offering to meet with the remaining LDCs in Northern Ireland.

It also pointed out that written guidance was sent out in late February and registration application packs in late March. RQIA said that it “anticipates the majority of Northern Ireland’s 394 (private) dental practices will submit applications within the timescale”.

However, it also stated that: “Failure to register with RQIA is an offence under article 12 of The Health and Personal Social Services (Quality, Improvement and Regulation) (NI) Order 2003. RQIA will take appropriate action against any practice refusing to cooperate in the registration process.”

For information and guidance from the RQIA, you can contact the regulator on (028) 9051 7500, email info@rqia.org.uk or by visiting www.rqia.org.uk