In this article, Hewi Ma, director at Goodman Grant Solicitors, answers some of the most pressing questions she gets asked by dentists on a regular basis…
These days, dentistry is far from simple. With an increasing amount of regulation, there are many, many ways a dental professional can unwittingly slip up. To avoid this from happening, it’s always best to get the advice of a legal specialist, to ensure you don’t make any costly mistakes. Here’s some of the most common questions I get asked on a regular basis…
“I have an NHS Contract in my sole name but I have also set up a limited company to carry out private treatment. Does this affect my CQC registration? I am only registered as an Individual”
In short – yes. This is because the CQC regulations state that a provider needs to be registered with the CQC. If you are carrying out regulated activities as a sole trader and also as a limited company then these are two separate providers, albeit under one roof.
You should register as an “Individual” and also as an “Organisation”. Two separate legal entities which will unfortunately attract two lots of CQC fees.
Failure to do so will put you at risk of prosecution by the CQC for carrying out regulated activities without being registered, resulting in a fine of up to £4,000.00.
“I have an NHS GDS Contract which performs well – almost too well as I am now in need of bigger premises. I have found a property down the road and want to develop this into a new practice. Planning isn’t an issue but can I just take my NHS GDS Contract with me?”
It’s great to hear that your practice is a success!
Unfortunately, you can’t just pick up your NHS GDS Contract and relocate. This is because under clause 65 of a standard GDS Contract, it states the address of the premises to be used. If you want to relocate your GDS Contract, you can only do this with the agreement of the NHS Area Team. You will also need to ensure that you register with the CQC to be able to carry out regulated activities at the new premises.
“I am buying a practice but the seller is underperforming on her UDAs. I don’t want to go into the business making a loss – how can this be resolved?”
If you are using a specialist dental solicitor, they will have advised you that the practice is underperforming and will also give you an idea of the value of underperformance. With national UDA rates averaging approximately £25.60 this can be a considerable amount.
The records will usually be taken from the seller’s own records as these are the most up to date. However, you should, as a buyer, request sight of the last NHS monthly activity report which will show how the practice is performing – this will give you a good indication.
A specialist dental solicitor will ensure that they insert provisions within the sale purchase agreement to protect you against the seller’s underperformance. On the day of completion, your solicitor will work out how many UDAs the seller has performed against the scheduled number of UDAs she should have performed. This is then deducted from the money you send to the seller to buy the practice.
You then have the option of working to catch up with the underperformed UDAs or if you can’t, then you should have the money available in your account to pay any clawback the NHS request.
“I am buying a practice and there is a chip and pin machine used to take patient payments. Where do the payments go when I own the practice?”
It is really important to ensure that you make up your own arrangements otherwise any payments taken on the seller’s chip and pin machine will go to their account! Most suppliers of chip and pin machines will be on a contract that is not transferrable. The seller will need to bring their contract to an end and there may be administration fees to be paid – the seller should be responsible for this.
“I am selling my practice and the buyer wants me to supply a Portable Appliance Test. Why on earth should I?”
Whilst there is no legal requirement that states you must have a Portable Appliance Test, the law does stipulate that any electrical equipment that can cause injury must be maintained in a safe condition. This relates to any electrical items.
Furthermore, there is no legal requirement to state how often you need to have your equipment tested. However, it is widely accepted that dental practices carry out Portable Appliance Tests annually. This will ensure you are taking steps to ensure that you, your employees and your patients are safe.
The team of specialist dental solicitors at Goodman Grant has many years’ experience in the dental sector and if there’s anything they don’t know about the legal side of dentistry, it’s probably not worth knowing!
For further information on any of the issues mentioned in this article please contact Hewi Ma