For immediate release: Wednesday, 6 February 2013
Scottish dentists are urged to take immediate action to ensure they meet their audit requirements by the July deadline or risk breaching their NHS Terms of Service, says UK-wide dental defence organisation MDDUS.
NHS dentists in Scotland will have last week received written advice from the Regional Postgraduate Dental Education directors about their audit obligations.
This circular - which reflects the advice published in recent years by MDDUS - warns that most practitioners are required to complete 15 hours of clinical audit by the end of July 2013. It also highlights the fact that Health Boards now have access to practices’ audit activity reports and may choose to intervene where necessary.
Audits south of the border are incorporated into NHS contract values. However, in Scotland, audit requirements are part of the NHS Terms of Service.
MDDUS dental adviser Doug Hamilton says: “There appears to be concerns about the volume of audits which have been submitted or completed to date.
“The regulations have always empowered Health Boards or NES to require evidence of audit compliance. However, the circular from the Director of Postgraduate Education advises practitioners that Health Boards can now access this information and may scrutinise this aspect of clinical governance at practice inspections.
Hamilton adds: “Failure to complete 15 hours of audit by July 31 may therefore impact upon the practice income of NHS practitioners in Scotland or may even be regarded as a breach of NHS Terms of Service.
“Constructing an effective audit can be a surprisingly slow process. Therefore, dentists who have fallen behind with their audit activity should address this issue immediately.”
In 2010 the clock was effectively “reset” regarding dental audits which meant every NHS practitioner had three years to complete the requisite 15 hours. The only exceptions to this rule were pro-rata reductions for dentist who were listed for the first time after 2010.
MDDUS encourage all practitioners to engage in what can be a valuable learning process. Hamilton says: “Audits are a very useful tool for identifying any shortcomings in virtually any area of your practice from record keeping to waiting times.
“Implementing change as a result of these studies is an excellent means of improving patient care and practice efficiency. This, in turn, makes for a less stressful working day, especially as it should help to minimise patient complaints.”
For further information contact Richard Hendry on 0845 270 2034 or 07976 272266, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note to editors
MDDUS (The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland) is a medical and dental defence organisation providing access to professional indemnity and expert medico- and dento-legal advice for doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals throughout the UK. For further information on MDDUS go to www.mddus.com.