In England, from the end of 2010 or early 2011 all dental practices and providers of healthcare, whether operating within the NHS or as independents, will be obliged under the Health and Social Care Act to register as a provider with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The Code of Practice on the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections (HCAI) and related guidance outlines how NHS and independent dental providers can meet the registration requirements relating to HCAI set out in the regulations.

Failure to comply with the regulations may result in the CQC issuing a warning or monetary penalty notice, suspending registration, prosecuting for specified offences (maximum fine £50,000) or, in extreme cases, cancelling registration. Particularly damaging to a dental provider who is subject to enforcement actions is the statutory duty of the CQC to publish information about failures.

This information is made available to the general public via the CQC website and to commissioning agencies such as PCTs.

This topic explains the requirements for the management of occupational health service provision, staff immunisation and the management of sharps injuries in a dental practice setting.

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