Get a head start on your CQC application process
Buying or selling a dental practice is amongst the biggest and most important decisions that anyone makes in their dental career. A successful sale is based on thorough preparation and information gathering, and although preparing well in advance can make the process less stressful, without expert guidance it can still become something of a labyrinth.
Planning the transition of a practice sale is one thing, but navigating a way through the application process to ensure you are registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and prepared for your CQC interview is something else entirely.
Applying first for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate, then completing the long and detailed application forms and waiting for the CQC to process the applications often takes months and can be fraught with difficulties. In addition, any lenders involved may hold back the finance until CQC registration is finalised. In the same way sellers must be up to speed.
Obtaining a DBS certificate
The DBS provides a central service for undertaking police and identity checks. All organisations where people may come into contact with vulnerable adults or children, are required to ensure they are vetted via the DBS certification process, which, for dental practices, must also be countersigned by the CQC.
DBS checks can take a minimum of four weeks from application and it’s understandable that many dentists think it wise to apply for certification as early in the sale process as possible. However, this is not always the case as the CQC will only accept DBS certificates valid within six months of issue. Depending on the nature of the practice acquisition and the time it will take, it may be advisable to seek professional advice and hold back on applying for certification too early in the process.
The CQC registration process
Once the DBS certificate has been received the application to the CQC can proceed. This is a detailed and complex process and can take a long time to complete, anything up to 14 weeks. The CQC provides a wide range of information and guidance on the registration process but this in itself can be time-consuming to read.
It’s essential that all forms are completed correctly and on time, as any mistakes or missing information will lead to the CQC rejecting the application, significantly slowing down the process. If and when the CQC agrees to a registration, it sends out a notice of confirmation and arranges an interview to assess the buyer’s fitness to practise and examine the relevant documents or request further documentation be supplied.
Once the CQC assessor is satisfied, a comfort letter will be issued and once this is received the variation notice can then be served to NHS England. Once this variation notice is accepted, NHS England will confirm a date on which the transaction is able to complete.
Getting the right help
The lengthy and often stressful CQC application process is not to be underestimated and thanks to its complexity there are many aspects that can go awry. That’s why it makes sense to look for assistance to ensure that the process can be completed as quickly and smoothly as possible.
At Mediestates we now provide a specialist service to advise, support and complete applications for both buyers and sellers going through the CQC application process, specifically tailored to the individual needs of the practice. This new, extended service helps with statutory notifications, provides information on how to register as a new provider, and advises on drafting and implementation of CQC registration, including organisations, partnerships and cost sharing agreements. In addition, we also provide buyers with a step-by-step guide that helps prepare for the all-important CQC interview and are the only agent to offer this important and valuable assistance.
We work on a consultancy basis and can guide clients through the application process or alternatively we can complete the process on their behalf to ensure everything is in place to receive CQC registration confirmation at the earliest opportunity. With so many other important things to think about during the buying and selling of a practice, dealing with CQC registration correctly from the start can ensure peace of mind and reduces the chance of suffering any major setbacks to the purchase or sale of a practice.
Mediestates CQC Consultancy Service is completely free of charge to those clients currently engaged in a transaction through Mediestates. For those who are not, we are still happy to provide the service for a flat fee of £350 +VAT.
Practice Location - this practice is situated in central London, close to many local shops and services. It has been established for over 25 years and is extremely popular amongst patients due to its central location and excellent transport links, making it easily accessible for all.
Type of Practice - this is a four-surgery practice, which offers extended opening hours, making it convenient for the working population. Income is derived primarily through an NHS contract, which presents further opportunity to increase turnover by advertising other available treatments. The practice is situated in a traditional end terrace property with space available should the incoming buyer wish to expand and add additional surgeries. The property is available on a leasehold or freehold basis, which makes it highly desirable to a wider market audience.
Financials - annual turnover of £873,928 is derived through an attractive NHS base of £803,000 for approximately 24,000 UDAs, resulting in a significantly higher than average UDA rate. The additional income is delivered through fee per item and capitation based patients. The private element could easily be increased if desired with additional surgeries added to accommodate the extra clinical hours required.
Buyer Appetites - the practice was successfully marketed to our premier tier buyers and proved extremely popular amongst enthusiastic dentists looking to expand their portfolio. Eight viewings were arranged, which resulted in multiple offers being received over and above the asking price.
Reason for Sale/Incoming Purchaser - the practice was presented to the market as a result of the current owners wishing to reduce their responsibilities and wind down in preparation for their eventual retirement. The vendors were willing to stay on at the practice in a part-time role, which suited the incoming purchaser who did not plan to work at the practice but instead purchased as an investment opportunity to expand their existing portfolio.
Price Achieved - £2,200,000 inclusive of the goodwill, equipment, fixtures and fittings. The sale was agreed on a leasehold basis with a rent of £27,250 per annum.
Practice Location - established for 40 years and having relocated in 2008 to new premises, this practice is situated in one of Yorkshire’s major cities. The practice is located within a residential area and benefits from on-street parking as well as good transport links and nearby shops and services.
Type of Practice - this is an expense-sharing, mainly private, three-surgery practice, which benefits from a strong capitation scheme alongside fee-per-item treatments and a small NHS contract. The practice occupies a two-story building, with only the ground floor currently utilised providing huge scope for expansion for an incoming purchaser. The freehold premises, worth circa £550,000, was owned by the outgoing principals who were open to options on a leasehold or freehold sale.
Financials - annual turnover of £420,000 comprises a £13,000 NHS contract, £172,000 capitation and £235,000 fee per item income. By utilising the unused first floor of the building, this would give the incoming buyer huge scope for increasing chair time and turnover.
Buyer Appetites - the practice was sold on the general market with comprehensive details being sent to over 180 buyers, resulting in several viewings being carried out at the practice.
Reason for Sale/Incoming Purchaser - both vendors wished to retire from the business and end their long running expense sharing partnership. The successful buyer was a local dentist who was financially able to offer on both the business and the freehold premises.
Price Achieved - £900,000 inclusive of goodwill, equipment fixtures, fittings and freehold.
Practice Location - this practice was purchased as a going concern by the outgoing principal over 23 years ago and is ideally positioned within a purpose built ‘health hub’ alongside other health and wellbeing professionals. Located within a large northern city, the practice benefits from ample car parking facilities as well as easily accessible transport routes.
Type of Practice - this one-surgery NHS practice has excellent expansion potential through the addition of further surgeries and the growth of fee-per-item treatments. The practice income is generated solely by the vendor who will cease working at the practice post-sale. The premises are offered on a leasehold basis.
Financials - annual turnover of £167,000 is delivered purely through the NHS contract, which comprises a healthy UDA rate of £29.18. There is significant potential to double or even treble the turnover by introducing private treatments, utilising additional chair time or expanding in to empty surgeries.
Buyer Appetites - we successfully marketed the practice with sales particulars being sent to 206 of our priority and general market tier buyers. Interest in the practice was high resulting in 11 viewings being arranged and subsequently seven offers being placed.
Reason for Sale/Incoming Purchaser - the vendor was looking to retire due to ill health. The incoming purchaser already owned another local practice and was keen to further expand their existing portfolio.
Price Achieved - £325,000 of the goodwill, equipment fixtures and fittings.