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In the news week commencing 23 March 2020

National and local media coverage we've received week commencing 23 March.

Sunday 29 March

BDA advocates voluntary redeployment and protection for high risk staff 

We’re quoted in the Mail on Sunday saying that volunteering should be on a voluntary basis, and called for protections for any staff at higher risk. 

Focus must now be on developing emergency dental services 

Dentists are dealing with cracked teeth and other emergencies by webcam, the Sunday Telegraph informed its readers. Patients now cannot see their dentists in person because of the risk of passing on coronavirus. Emergency centres have not yet been sent up, so for the time being, painful problems are having to be treated by phone calls and webcam, with advice being given on home care and painkillers prescribed. Mick Armstrong, BDA chair said: “Routine dental care as we know it is over for now. Real energy must be devoted to developing emergency services.”

Friday 27 March

Public with dental problems should not to go to A&E

Several news bulletins on BBC Radio Tees yesterday and today, including BBC Tees Breakfast, carried an interview with our spokesperson and board member, Paul Woodhouse. Paul emphasised that patients should not attend A&E, they are not set up to provide dental treatment, he said, and people should phone NHS 111 to find out where they could access emergency dental care.


Listen from around 1min 52 secs


BDA warns government that the profession should not be forced to choose between NHS and other financial support

In response to an announcement that dentists with NHS contracts would be redeployed elsewhere or would lose their NHS pay, we stated that the profession stands ready and willing to support the national effort to fight this pandemic with any workable emergency plan. Chair Mick Armstrong insisted that this must be on a voluntary basis only, and called for protection for any staff who are at higher risk.

BBC news - Coronavirus: Dentists to help staff new hospitals

The Health Business website highlighted the difficulty that practice owners face if they continue to receive NHS funding, they will not be eligible for assistance under the Chancellor's scheme for small businesses. Chair Mick Armstrong explains: "By asking practices to choose between the NHS and other government support, it is inevitable many will fall through the gap. We urgently need government to offer flexibility over the issue."

The Times - Coronavirus: Bailout will compensate 2m self‑employed workers


BDA calls for appropriate PPE, more testing and financial support

The Telegraph today reported the suspension of all routine care during the lockdown phase of the coronavirus pandemic. Dave Cottam said “dentists were crying out for proper protective equipment, for more coronavirus testing, and financial support for the self-employed.“

Thursday 26 March

Regional press, including BBC, continues to inform the public about restrictions on dental care

Kent Online informs readers that all non-urgent NHS dentist appointments are now postponed to halt the spread of coronavirus, while NHS England ‘ordered’ that new cases will be assessed by telephone rather than in person. Our Chair Mick Armstrong said: "Routine dental care as we know it is over for now. For the safety of dentists and their patients this is the right approach.” 

Wednesday 25 March

ITV News highlights stark financial reality for dentists – private and NHS

Dave Cottam, BDA chair of the general dental practice committee, relayed the concerns of dentists across the UK when he told viewers that – in his mixed practice, NHS and private – he didn’t know where money would be coming from.

Clip unavailable


BDA urges NHS England to agree financial support for practices

Chief Executive, Martin Woodrow, quoted as saying that ‘the BDA had been in touch with NHS England yesterday urging the organisation to agree financial support for practices’.


The Sun and the Huff Post also cited our advice on what dental care the public could expect to access during the COVID-19 outbreak. “Given the uncertainty and reflecting the practical consequences of the current official advice, we recommend that practices cease routine dentistry and operate an advice and emergency service only”.


“A safety-first approach” as dental practices shut down for all except emergency appointments

Around 200 news outlets right across the UK, from the local press in Somerset to Stirling, from Belfast to Banbury, and Guernsey to Gloucester, all featured an update from the BDA on the current state of play on dentistry in the respective locations. These noted, where relevant, that the Welsh and Scottish governments recommended the suspension of routine dentistry, and in Northern Ireland all aerosol generating procedures were suspended from this Monday onwards, while guidance in England is currently being updated, according to the NHS England website.


Chair, Mick Armstrong, warned that dental practices had now reached the point where routine treatment in dental practices could not be provided any longer. He pointed out that in the absence of clear guidance many surgeries across England have already shut down or moved to deal with emergencies only.  He also noted that dentists were still waiting for concrete plans for a dedicated emergency dental service, properly equipped to deal with cases. Our patients need to see a system put in place in the days ahead."


Peeblesshire News


Daily Mail


Belfast Telegraph


South Wales Guardian


BBC Radio stations cite BDA's update on limitations to dental care during COVID-19 outbreak

BBC Radio stations in Derby, Berkshire, Jersey, Manchester and Lancashire all cited our updates in their news bulletins as advising the public that dental practices would no longer be able to provide routine dental care during the COVID-19 outbreak and treatments, where available, would be limited to emergence care. Listeners heard that aerosol generating procedures created a high risk environment for the dental team and patients alike.

Tuesday 24 March

Sunak under pressure to save Britain's 5m self-employed workers

The Telegraph quotes Birmingham dentist Dave Cottam, chair of the BDA’s general dental practice committee, says dentists are crying out for proper protective equipment, more coronavirus testing, and financial support for the self-employed.

“Practices risk collapsing and staff being laid off. That will be a huge problem.”


Daily Telegraph 1


Daily Telegraph 2


Army may build field hospitals in conference halls, while NHS frontline staff plead for more PPE

The Times quotes our advice to dentists “Given the uncertainty and reflecting the practical consequences of the current official advice, we recommend that practices cease routine dentistry and operate an advice and emergency service only.” 


Toothache patients struggling after dentists move to emergency treatment only

The Camden New Journal notes our advice to clinics to stay open for advice and emergency treatment partly due to a shortage of protective equipment.  “Dentists have been told they must wear full face shields, masks and goggles while working patients and to "avoid aerosol generating procedures wherever possible". Routine work on "vulnerable groups" has, in turn, been restricted to protect staff from infection. Our statement said: "As things stand, the chance of advanced PPE equipment, protocols and training being widely available to avoid this seems unlikely, with resources appropriately being directed to intensive care." "We recommend that practices cease routine dentistry and operate an advice and emergency service only.”  


Big drop in free dental care as thousands of innocent people face fines

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard features Charlotte Waite, chair of our community dental services committee. “NHS dentistry will see a huge drop during the pandemic”, but added that the fall in free care was "entirely man-made". She added: "The system by which many often vulnerable patients claim is a nightmare by design, where mistakes come with a £100 penalty charge.


"It's left hundreds of thousands of innocent people facing fines and encouraged millions more to miss out on care”. 

Monday 23 March

Is it still ok go to the dentist?

BBC Radio Scotland Mornings programme was devoted to questions from the public about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The questions were answered by Linda d, Professor of Public Health at University of Edinburgh, who advised listeners to check the BDA’s website for the latest advice on dentistry. She added that dentists were being asked to exercise their clinical judgement, that practices were not closed and there were really important reasons for this, such as people with acute care needs.


Listen from around 34 minutes.


This was also broadcast on BBC Radios Shetland and Orkney today.


LBC News: Dental practices need financial support now or some will close after the pandemic, BDA warns

BDA vice chair, Eddie Crouch, was interviewed by LBC News presenter, Matt Stadlen, on Friday night, who announced that the latest guidance may spell the end of most routine dental care. Eddie highlighted that it had been a very difficult time for surgeries over the last few weeks as lots and lots of appointments had been cancelled at the same time that some staff were having to take time off to self-isolate. Dentists found themselves in a terrible position last week as different guidance had been issued in Scotland and Wales to England, and England wasn’t updating its guidance as regularly. Colleagues were in a real quandary as to what we should be doing, Eddie said, and we are all quite concerned about making sure that we are not going to harm our staff and our patients. He also expressed concern that unless NHS dental practices were financially supported then after this epidemic is over, he predicts that quite a few of them will have to close.

The interview with Eddie was aired again in several news bulletins on LBC on Saturday.


Sunday Times: NHS targets drive dentists to keep feet on the gas

An article in the Sunday Times highlighting the difficulties facing dentistry in the corona outbreak included commentary from our chair, Mick Armstrong, who said that whether dentists were providing NHS or private care, the biggest challenge was keeping this service afloat. “We need a safety net, but we have been offered little more than warm words,” he said.


Not available online.