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In the news week commencing 27 April 2020

National and local media coverage we've received week commencing 27 April.

Friday 1 May

BBC Good Morning Ulster: What if you need a dentist during the pandemic?

This morning, the chair of BDA’s Northern Ireland Dental Committee, Richard Graham, told BBC Good Morning Ulster programme about the emergencies that can be treated at the new urgent care hubs and how people can access this help. The way it works, Richard explained, is that patients still contact their own dentists who do first stage triage on them. "If possible, the dentists will treat them using either advice on getting a temporary filling done, something like that, or sometimes pain will go away with painkillers, or swelling that may respond to an antibiotic," he said. Richard, who is providing care an at an urgent dental centre in Lurgan, gave examples of emergencies that would be seen at these centres, such as a large swelling of the face, neck or mouth, trauma, uncontrolled bleeding, difficulty opening the mouth or swallowing, dental pain that's causing loss of sleep or can't be controlled by analgesics or antibiotics and maybe an ulcer that's persisted for more than three weeks. Richard pointed out that if treatment is needed, the patient's dentist will phone a central triage who will then give the patient an appointment in the urgent care centre closest to them.

Listen from approx. 28 minutes 

With most dental practices in Northern Ireland have closed due to the pandemic, how do you access emergency care?

Richard’s advice on how to access emergency care during the pandemic is also available here on BBC online. 

Thursday 30 April

Metro: Brushing your teeth can help prevent spread of coronavirus

Most toothpastes contain the same detergents as antibacterial hand gels, Professor Martin Addy told the Metro. As the virus is most commonly spread by salvia and cough droplets, this could help kill germs before they have a chance to move on, he noted. He also recommends that health care workers on the frontline of the pandemic brush their teeth before putting on personal protective equipment (PPE). Our scientific adviser, Prof Damien Walmsley, agreed there could be benefits in brushing your teeth before going outside for daily exercise or to the shops.  Damien said: ‘The aim of brushing our teeth with a fluoride toothpaste is to remove bacteria that causes tooth decay. Given the importance of good hygiene to reduce the risk of spreading or acquiring Covid-19, there may be benefits to brushing your teeth before going out to shop, and also for healthcare workers before putting on their PPE, as Professor Addy advises.’

It will be a long time before dentistry is ‘business as usual’

In a detailed Q&A on dentistry during lockdown, our spokesperson, Nick Stolls, told news outlets in Norfolk why routine dentistry had been suspended and outlined the process to get urgent care.  Nick reassured people with coronavirus or those with symptoms that Norfolk has one specialist centre where they could they could be treated, and informed readers that dentists would be wearing the highest level (3) of PPE at these clinics. While patients only had to wait around a day to get an appointment at an urgent centres in the east of England, Nick pointed out that the number of patients seen was limited to around four per session compared to around 12 in normal circumstances. Nick said that ‘normal’ dentistry would resume following advice from the chief dental officer and regulators. “It was fair to say,” Nick added, “that it will be a long time before it is business as usual.” 

BBC Kent focuses on dental problems 

Yesterdays’ Mid-Morning programme on BBC Radio Kent devoted around 30 minutes to dentistry, which included an interview with our board’s vice chair, Eddie Crouch, while Tim Hogan, chair of Kent local dental committee, answered callers’ dental questions.  Eddie explained why dentistry posed a significant risk of transmitting Covid-19, where present, and highlighted the difficulties dentists had in securing even normal PPE, as far back as February, since this is sourced from China. Commenting on the provision of urgent dental care centres in Kent, Eddie thought that with seven such centres the provision in Kent was quite good relative to other parts of the country, such as Yorkshire, which was just about to open these. He suggested that the triaging system had initially been a bit over-zealous. There is no point in having these, Eddie said if patients in need can’t access them. He also drew attention to the financial problems experienced by dentists because of the pandemic.  Tim said that some of the issues patients presented with were heart-rending and iterated that the dentists want to help their patients.

Listen from 2 hrs 10 mins

Wednesday 29 April

We tell ITV1 News listeners that month’s delay rolling out UDCs was unacceptable

In an interview on ITV 1 News (Yorkshire News and West Yorkshire) last night, our chair, Mick Armstrong, said the development and roll-out of urgent dental care centres (UDCCs) in East and West Yorkshire had been too slow – and a month’s wait for these to emerge was unacceptable. “These have been slow in development and slow to be rolled out”, he said. The news item also cited the findings from our survey of more than a 1,000 members which highlighted that a third of UDCCs in England had delayed opening due to the lack of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). 

Viewers with dental problems were advised to phone their dentist first, who could refer them to a UDCCs if their patient had a dental emergency.

Link unavailable


BBC Radio York: 5-week backlog of toothache to treat in north Yorkshire 

The roll-out of UDCCs was possibly slower still in North Yorkshire, as Mark Green, secretary of his local dental committee, said on BBC Radio York, Breakfast, this morning that his area was the last to get UDCCs – though not for the want of trying – adding that there was a 5-week backlog of toothache to treat. Mark explained why routine dentistry had to close on March 25, and apologised to patients that this was the case, adding that it was difficult for the profession too who want to treat their patients. Mark said there had been a lack of foresight in planning for dentistry during a pandemic, and referenced the struggle for dentists to get the right PPE, and the limitations on treatments that are available at UDCs. He also outlined how patients could access dental care during lockdown.

Listen from 1:11:00

Tuesday 28 April

Daily Mail: health tips during lockdown

Our scientific adviser, Damien Walmsley, featured in an article in the Daily Mail today on health tips to adopt during lockdown, advising that as well as brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, people should use interdental brushes to clean between their teeth. The article also highlighted that dental practices in England have been closed since March 25, and although NHS England is setting up 165 pop-up centres to treat urgent patients, the BDA is quoted as saying many are not open yet.

BBC Radio Humberside: Dentists hampered by lack of PPE in East Yorkshire

BBC Radio Humberside Drive afternoon show on 27 April, featured an item on East Yorkshire dentists trying to organise dental hubs to offer patients face to face treatment and explained they were being hampered by a lack of PPE. BDA Board member Eddie Crouch explained why some treatments are higher risk, "...when you are using a high-speed drill, that produces a spray, which produces an aerosol, and its' the settling of the aerosol over a long period of time, or the transmission of the aerosol with particles in it, that is the real risk".

Listen from: 5 mins 30sec


York's Press: Urgent dental care hubs open in York

Our comments on the lack of adequate PPE for UDCs were quoted in an article for The Press on the opening of an urgent dental care centre in York. The article highlighted the plight of dental patients being unable to access treatment and left in pain. An NHS spokesperson said a number of dental care hubs had been established across Yorkshire and the Humber and that two hubs were now operating in York. York Central MP Rachael Maskell was also quoted, saying, "Dentists must be provided with the right standard of PPE to undertake their work safely, but I am concerned that some elements of dental treatment may not be available in the initial stages due to a shortage of equipment." 

Monday 27 April

We join forces with other membership organisations to call on Government re financial support

We’ve joined forces with a group of other membership bodies, including, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants - representing around 300,000 members including those across professional services, sports therapy and other industries - to call for financial support for their forgotten members who have been overlooked for Government support. Writing to the chancellor, the coalition pays tribute to these self-employed professionals and small businesses which provide important services and have been badly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic but are struggling to access any of the existing schemes. It calls for the Government to allow directors of small businesses access to either the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) or Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), to expedite the process of delivering funds under SEISS before it is due to go live in June, and to make the process of accessing Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans (CBILs) a smoother one. Both schemes are based on either an average of the last three years' self-assessment forms or a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020. The SEISS is set to start making payments in June, however, the organisations argue that their members cannot wait that long to access financial support so have asked the government to either launch the scheme sooner or provide cash grants. The letter also said that more needs to be done to ensure more small businesses benefit from Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans.

Business Matters - Trade bodies around UK combine to call on chancellor for COVID-19 support for ‘forgotten’ small business and self-employed

Research Live - MRS calls for better SME and self-employed support

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations - CIPR joins “diverse coalition” of membership bodies to write to chancellor for more self-employed and small business support

Dentists threaten to sue their insurers after refusal to pay out on business interruption claims 

More than 2,000 dentists are threatening to sue their insurers after a refusal to pay out on business interruption claims, according to the Telegraph. The nationwide lockdown has forced dentists to shut – as a BDA survey revealed 20pc of them fear they will run out of cash within a month. Dentists are among the few high street operators not able to claim for business rates relief, and have warned they are now under massive financial pressure after being barred from claiming on insurance too.

Meanwhile, the BBC NEWS Online reports that a law firm says Welsh businesses affected by coronavirus could be able to legally challenge insurance companies that have rejected claims. Capital Law is dealing with dozens of new cases where it says claims have been refused by insurers who are "trying it on in the first instance". The Association of British Insurers (ABI) says individual cases are looked at on merit. But it says most policies will not cover pandemics. It argues that forcing insurance companies to cover risks not included in contracts would bankrupt them. The ABI says it has already been accepted by the Financial Conduct Authority that pandemics are not covered by most insurance policies. The organisation argues that business insurance is available for day-to-day problems like damage to premises or accidents and injuries.

BBC - Coronavirus: Businesses urged to challenge insurers 'trying it on'

The Guardian - UK insurers face legal action from small firms over Covid-19 claims