Don’t get caught out by avoidable CQC inspection mistakes

The most common and avoidable CQC inspection mistakes  

1 - Blind panic

The stress and worry ahead of an inspection can get to even the coolest and most organised of practice teams. And, while according to researchers, a certain level of stress helps to release adrenaline and increase performance, the same can’t be said for panic.

In our experience of working with dental practices to help them prepare for their CQC inspection over the last eight years, we know that panic is the root cause of most avoidable inspection mistakes.

We find it is often a result of practices not being confident and clear on what needs to be done in preparation for an inspection.

Consequently, most practices turn themselves into busy fools ahead of an inspection and this can lead to errors being made and things being missed that, in any other situation or on any other day, would have been swiftly spotted and dealt with.  

Preparing for a CQC inspection does require hard work, but it’s difficult (perhaps even impossible) to achieve everything that’s required if you really don’t know where to start.

Instead, if you’re confident and clear on what needs to be done, and the team has direction, the stress and blind panic will gradually melt away.

2 - Getting bogged down in paperwork

Ahead of a CQC inspection most practice managers go into a tail spin - again being driven by blind panic - busily making sure they have all the paperwork they need in place.

In fact, we’ve seen practice managers spend days ahead of an inspection printing out every document they think they may need, just in case, and filing them away in beautiful, colour-coded binders. And this isn’t rare, we’ve found that most adopt a scattergun approach to the paperwork because, in truth, they’re just not sure what they need and what they don’t.

And that’s a problem. Not least because the practice manager is likely wasting a lot of time (and paper) doing this, but also because paperwork filed away isn’t much use or benefit to the team.  

3 - A lack of communication

A lot of practices work hard to get together and organise all the materials needed for an inspection – and as we mentioned above, a lot they may not need – but few communicate what’s required to the wider team.

Inspectors speak to the practice team as well as patients, so vital processes and procedures need to live outside of a desk file to demonstrate to inspectors that your practice is well led and safe.

It’s therefore crucial that every member of the team is fully aware and informed about what is required to meet the standards set by the CQC, and that they know what to expect during an inspection.

4 Going it alone

What practices really need, even the most experienced, is a helping hand to guide them through inspection preparations and offer up not only a fresh pair of eyes, but also an objective point of view.

After all, everyone needs help every now and then regardless of how experienced and organised your team is.

The DD Training and Compliance Team Practice Assessment is an onsite mock inspection developed to prepare practices by offering guidance and reviewing any preparations so your practice is ready and validated in the event of a formal inspection from the CQC.

The assessment takes five to six hours, depending on the size of the practice, and aims to provide advice on the latest guidance and best practice. We provide a full practice compliance gap analysis and we work with you to solve any issues ahead of the inspectors arriving.

What’s more, all of the DD Training and Compliance Team have been in your shoes as they all have dental practice backgrounds, so they understand the challenges faced and stress experienced ahead of inspections.

During the Compliance Practice Assessment, DD offers guidance on areas in need of special attention ahead of a CQC inspection, including:

  • Your premises, including: access, facilities, security, fire precautions, third parties and business continuity plans
  • Information governance including Freedom of Information Act, manual computerised records, GDPR, Data Protection and security
  • Radiography including Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17) / Ionising Radiations Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017 (IRR(NI)17) compliance
  • Cross infection and decontamination including HTM 01-05 compliance. Approved code of practice guidance and surgery audits
  • Foreseeable medical emergencies including basic life support, emergency drugs provision, equipment and protocols
  • Training, documentation and certificates
  • Waste management, documentation and storage
  • Practice policies and written procedures


An online report* is produced by the DD Training and Compliance Team confirming the results of this assessment with any improvements and recommendations required in a bespoke action plan.