The Association of Tongue-tie Practitioners has been made aware of a post put up by Charlotte Young on the Infant Tongue Tie UK Group regarding our directory.
There is some misleading information within this post and a few points we would like to clarify.
The post begins by asserting how crazy it is that you can review a pizza but not a tongue-tie practitioner. The purpose of the ATP directory is to allow parents to identify practitioners who may be able to assist them, whether that be in the NHS or private practice. The directory is not there to collect feedback as there are plenty of other mechanisms for that. Many of our members collect feedback via their websites, Facebook pages and Google for example.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) requires that we audit our practice, collate data on adverse outcomes and complaints and collect feedback from clients via surveys which they will review during inspections. The CQC also provides all CQC registered practitioners with a widget for their website via which families can provide feedback to the CQC (good and bad) and they encourage all registered providers to ensure that clients are aware of how they can feedback to the CQC. The CQC assesses services against 5 standards – effectiveness, safety, caring, responsiveness and being well-led. I think most people would agree that having services reviewed and monitored by an independent body like the CQC is an excellent way to ensure the quality of services.
The ATP has considered having feedback on our website in the past but there are lots of issues withthis including:
- If you are running a listing with public feedback how do you ensure reviews are genuine? Laws around data protection and professional codes of conduct on confidentiality would make it very difficult for the person running the listing to ensure that the person who has written the review was a genuine client.
- How would you ensure the reviews were fair and objective? Regulators like the Nursing and Midwifery Council receive tens of thousands of complaints about nurses and midwives each year. The vast majority are thrown out because there is no evidence to back them up. If a member does receive a bad review and feels this is unfair and wants it removed how does the person running the listing deal with that? They, unlike the NMC, would not have legal powers to investigate so what would happen to that review?
- How will practitioners feel about the listing when the reviews effectively make the list into a league table of practitioners?
- Some practitioners do a lot more divisions than others, so will those with a greater number of reviews get more business as a result at the expense of those with smaller businesses?
The post implies that there weren’t any problems with feedback when the tongue-tie directory was run by Lactation Consultants of Great Britain (LCGB). LCGB stopped running the listing in 2012 when the ATP took it on, and we do not recall there being anywhere for clients to leave feedback on that directory and indeed there is nowhere on their current website for clients to leave feedback.
ATP is not an ‘independent member group’. We are not sure what is meant by that. We have members from across the NHS, private and volunteer sectors as we offer membership to non-tongue-tie practitioners too.
The post talks about how anyone who is a member can advertise their service as if that is a problem. Presumably anyone who is a tongue-tie practitioner will be included on the proposed new directory and if not, what will be the criteria for exclusion and how will that be implemented? It talks about practitioners having terrible feedback which seems a contradiction when the main theme of the post is the issue with lack of feedback. If clients have had a poor experience, they can follow this advice below, which is on the ATP website, and we would urge them to do so.
Complaints about your practitioner should be addressed, in the first instance to the practitioner, in order to seek early resolution. Serious concerns may be directed to their regulatory body.
The ATP acknowledges that our private directory is restricted to our members and does not include every practitioner in the country. The ATP’s understanding, having taken legal advice, is that if somebody wants to set up a directory of practitioners, they need to have a legal basis under GDPR for holding information on those practitioners and this legal basis would most likely fall under ‘consent’. This means that practitioners would need to consent to being in the directory and under GDPR could request removal from the directory at any time.
The ATP checks the credentials of all those listed in the directory at inception, including professional registration, training in division, indemnity cover and CQC registration, where appropriate, to ensure all members listed comply with legal and regulatory requirements and NICE Guidance. These checks are repeated annually to help ensure public safety and confidence in our listing. We doubt the NHS, private and voluntary sectors would be happy to share our directory without these checks. Hence the charge being made to members who list to cover the administration involved.
The new ATP website ‘makes it incredibly difficult for parents to understand the difference in providers’ Charlotte says. There has been no change in information provided with the new directory. Parents can find details of a practitioner’s location, qualifications, contact details and personal website for more detailed information about that practitioner. We would hope that parents are not simply using information on a list on the internet to choose a practitioner.
The post talks about practitioners facing large CQC charges. This is speculation. The ATP attended a meeting on 11 September with the CQC who confirmed that they have still yet to agree what we will be charged, and no one will be charged anything until the next financial year.