MediEstates - ASK CHARLIE: How can practices satisfy the Care Quality Commission when buying or selling a practice?
ASK CHARLIE: How can practices satisfy the Care Quality Commission when buying or selling a practice?

How can practices satisfy the Care Quality Commission when buying or selling a practice?

The role of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in ensuring high-quality health and social care is, of course, an essential role; but managing to satisfy the regulator, particularly when buying or selling a practice, can be challenging.

The CQC measures dental practices on five key areas; whether they are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. These key areas are broken down into a set of questions which are referred to as key lines of enquiry (KLOE). These are used during inspections and also when practice owners apply to the CQC to provide regulated services.

Each time a practice changes hands, both buyer and seller have to satisfy the CQC in a number of ways, and the complexity of the application process, which can take up to 14 weeks, can cause delays to the process if not approached methodically and in a timely manner.

Channel your inner scout – be prepared!
Satisfying the CQC can be much easier if you ensure you are prepared for all the questions that will be asked, whether you are a buyer or a seller.

The buyer normally has more to do than the seller, particularly if it’s the first time they have bought a practice. The ‘new provider’ application form is long and detailed, and requires a lot of information, including the last 15 years of job history, explanations of any gaps in employment and most importantly, Section 5 which is entitled “How”. This section requires details of how the new owner will provide the regulated activities and satisfy the KLOE, which confirm whether the service is safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.

The new provider applicant will also be required to attend an interview, at which point their suitability to be registered for the provision of regulated activities is assessed, including being able to prove you are a fit and appropriate person to perform duties to a high standard.

It’s all in the timing (and detail)
It’s important to start the CQC process as soon as a sale is agreed, by applying for a countersigned DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) check. Both the buyer and the seller must apply for their own DBS check and it must be countersigned by the CQC in order to be valid. The application can be completed online and the process can take between three and 10 weeks. It is then valid for 12 months.

Whilst waiting for your DBS check to be confirmed, the new provider application form on the CQC portal should be completed. Often, a new buyer will need to apply to go into partnership with the vendor for a period of time during the handover, and in that case, both sides must apply for a partnership, whilst the vendor simultaneously cancels their existing provider registration.

It’s important to check the application form meticulously, as the CQC is very strict on what is acceptable and can reject an application for the most minor of errors, including grammatical mistakes. It’s also important for CQC compliance that – if the practice holds an NHS contract – the registration mirrors what is on the NHS contract.

A helping hand
As part of our service as a broker, MediEstates provides a complimentary CQC Consultancy Service that is available to guide buyers and sellers through the CQC application process. It involves explaining the requirements of the CQC and taking on much of the time-consuming work that is involved.

We guide customers through the process and prompt them regarding what action that is required at each stage; we provide templates and examples to follow for different sections of the application form; and we perform a final check before submission. We also help our clients prepare for the interview by providing a list of questions that should be considered and hints as to how responses might be formulated.

Being able to satisfy the CQC is a crucial aspect of buying or selling a dental practice and ensures that when the sale eventually does complete, the new practice owner can open on time and begin their new venture with everything in place.
Posted by: Charlie Murphy on

General Buyer Terms 

This agreement is in relation to MediEstates Limited whose registered office is at 1st Floor, Pacific House, Stanier Way, Wyvern Business Park, Derby, DE21 6BF acting for and on behalf of our clients ("the Vendors"); and yourself (Buyer's Name) in relation for an introduction to a prospective sale of a business as a going concern. By registering through this agreement I agree to all terms set out below:

  1. Definitions
    In this Agreement the following terms and phrases shall have the following meaning unless the context otherwise requires:

    Dental Practice business providing dental care. This business is under the MediEstates Ltd sale terms.
    Confidential Information
    Means the actual Vendors identity and all confidential information in respect of the Business, including, but not limited to, any ideas, business methods, prices, accounts, finance, marketing, research, development, manpower plans, processes, market opportunities, intentions, design rights, product information, customer lists or details, employees’ details, trade secrets, computer systems and software, and other matters connected with the products or services manufactured, marketed, provided or obtained by the Vendor, and information concerning the Vendor’s relationships with actual or potential clients or customers and the needs and requirements of such clients’ or customers’ operations.
  2. Obligation of Confidentiality
    The Prospective Purchaser agrees to treat as confidential, information supplied by or on behalf of the Vendor in connection with the sale of the Business.
  3. Exclusions
    The obligation of confidentiality set out in clause 2 does not apply to:
    1. any information received from a third party who was legally free at the time of disclosure to disclose it;
    2. any information which was already lawfully in the Prospective Purchaser’s possession prior to receiving it from MediEstates Ltd on behalf of the Vendor; and
    3. any information which is in its entirety already in the public domain.
  4. Duties of Prospective Purchaser
    1. The Prospective Purchaser shall take such a reasonable security measures to protect the Confidential Information and trade secrets.
    2. The Prospective Purchaser shall not, without the prior written consent of the Vendor, permit any of the Confidential Information:
      1. to be disclosed, other than in confidence to its legal or professional advisors;
      2. to be copied or reproduced;
      3. to be commercially exploited in any way;
      4. to be used for any purpose other than in connection with the prospective purchase of the Business;
      5. MediEstates is registered under the Data Protection Act 2018. Upon Signing this agreement you agree to follow the legal obligations of this act to protect the details of the information supplied to you, with it no to be passed outside of the control of you the prospective purchaser.
    3. The Prospective Purchaser agrees to keep a record of Confidential Information received.
    4. The Prospective Purchaser will return to MediEstates or the Vendor all documents containing Confidential Information and all copies of those documents on demand at any time which are in its possession or under its control, and for this purpose the term “documents” includes computer discs and all other materials capable of storing data and information. The Prospective Purchaser agrees that such documents remain the property of the MediEstates on behalf of the Vendor.
    5. The Prospective Purchaser must not jeopardise or re-direct the sale under any circumstances.
    6. The Prospective Purchaser must not contact the Local Area Team or CCG regarding any practice sale, by any means of media unless written permission is granted from the Vendor.
    7. To carry out own due diligence on practice purchases and accepts that any information MediEstates has supplied is information provided by the vendor and is not responsible for its accuracy or completeness.
  5. This Agreement
    The existence of this Agreement and its terms are confidential and neither MediEstates nor the Purchaser may disclose anything about this Agreement or its subject matter or implementation to any person other than in confidence to their legal or professional advisers.
  6. Duties of Prospective Purchaser
    When buying Dental practices, finance is normally needed. Our organisation operated over more than one of the MediHoldings brand, by completing this from you agree that the information can be shared to our other organisations to avoid the need to register independently and provide the best possible service.

    MediEstates will refer you to the specialist dental lending team and MediFinancial who will contact the necessary banks, whom have preferential healthcare lending rates in some cases, to ascertain which funding is available to you.
    By signing this agreement you do not have to use any of the banks MediFinancial contact, it is just another service which we provide.
  7. Deposit for Dental Practice
    If you are interested in putting forward a formal offer in for a practice, once the offer is accepted there will be a deposit required to secure the practice sale which is dependant of the practice size. This deposit is held in a client account and will be returned to the buyer on completion of the practice sale. You the buyer, will be required to sign a deposit schedule which will cover the buyer and the seller in the event that the practice sale does not proceed.
  8. Changes to this Agreement
    Any changes made to this agreement must be authorised and signed by one of MediEstates Ltd Directors.
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