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Updates from week commencing 1 February 2021

Read all the updates and what we've been working on during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Friday 5 February 2021



England: New side agreement and video for associates


We have revised our side agreement for associates. This contract was first published for our members in December, when NHS England announced they were reintroducing targets.


Since that time, we have taken your feedback and recent changes on board and have amended and updated these side agreements to the versions that are now available for download.


To accompany the new contracts, we have also made a video to explain the changes and how these side agreements can help you. We hope you find it useful.






England: MPs call for an end to 45% target


Today MPs from across the house came together to call for an end to the 45% target placed on NHS practices in England.


We were pleased to work with Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing and Southall, on a cross party letter to Secretary of State, Matt Hancock, urging him to abandon the 45% targets for NHS activity for the first quarter of 2021. The letter, which is signed by 42 MPs from five different parties, calls upon Mr Hancock "to intervene and work towards a sustainable funding solution with the dental profession".


This issue has been gaining ground ever since the targets were announced in December, just prior to the new national lockdown. The letter builds on our parliamentary campaigning of recent weeks, reflected in a well-attended Backbench Business Debate on 15 January wherein members from all sides of the house spoke up eloquently for NHS dentists and their patients. 


We will keep pressing the government to abandon this unworkable system and come back to the negotiating table. We must find a sustainable solution that works for everyone.





England: HEE survey looks at career progression of dentists


Health Education England are carrying out a survey as part of the Advancing Dental Care review to understand the career progression of dentists.


The survey looks at any factors you have encountered over your practising lifetime which may have influenced your career, including changes due to COVID-19 or any suggestions for the future.

Take the HEE survey.





Wales: NHS 111 clarify issue re: antibiotics


Following a concern that has been raised regarding prescribing antibiotics, we have been in contact with NHS 111 to clarify the advice for patients with dental problems. NHS have confirmed that they do not advise general medical practitioners to prescribe antibiotics for dental problems. Patients with severe swelling affecting the eye or airways are directed toward emergency departments only.





Wales: New plans from Health Inspectorate Wales expected


Health Inspectorate Wales (HIW) have confirmed that their latest draft plans for dental practice inspections and registration fees are now being finalised and will be shared soon.


In their reply to our queries following a recent stakeholder meeting, HIW also confirmed that DCP-led practices will be subject to the same process as dentist-led practices, and that a strategy is being planned for inspection of online only dental care providers. Practices will also note the recent reduction in HIW fees and an extension to the payment deadline until the end of March 2021.



Thursday 4 February 2021



England: Q4 activity reporting update


Dental providers in England should have today received an email from the NHS Business Services Authority regarding revised guidance on Q4 activity reporting in Compass.


The communications should include detail on the Q4 report which was being updated today to include a breakdown of the Performer activity figures and also the count of sedation and domiciliary visits. These figures are being included on the existing Provider report.


NHS Business Services Authority are also working on a report for Performers (to contain activity figures), which should be available shortly.





England: Updates to the standard operating procedures published 


Dentistry's standard operating procedures (SOPs) was published today with new amendments and updates. The document, 'Transition to Recovery', is available on the NHS website, and all key changes have been highlighted in yellow.


Deputy CDO, Jason Wong, summarised these changes in his email to the profession, which are as follows:


  • Symptomatic staff can access testing via the GOV.UK website (or call 119) and should identify themselves as essential workers. 
  • Staff with symptoms of COVID-19 should stay at home as per advice for the public. Staff who are well enough to continue working from home should be supported to do so. If staff become unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 while at work, they should put on a surgical face mask immediately, inform their line manager and return home.
  • Lateral flow antigen testing is now being rolled out in primary care for asymptomatic staff delivering NHS services in England. Primary care contractors that ordered lateral flow devices on or before 17 January 2021 will now have received their delivery. Orders received after that date will be delivered as part of their business as usual deliveries from PCSE.
  • Patient-facing primary care staff are asked to test themselves twice weekly and report their results to Public Health England (PHE), via the NHS Digital online platform. Please be aware that it is a statutory requirement to report all results, including negative, positive or void. 
  • For patients who are COVID-19 possible/confirmed cases and contacts (seen in designated Urgent Dental Centres only) - avoid AGPs where possible, unless there is no alternative treatment option and/or the AGP intervention cannot be deferred.





England: New fourth quarter side agreement for associates


When NHS England announced they were reintroducing targets in December, we published a draft side agreement for associates. 


Since that time, we have taken your feedback and recent changes on board and have amended and updated this side agreement to the versions that are now available for download.





In the news this week


We're speaking to national and local media daily to represent you and your interests. Here's just some of the coverage we've received:  


  • BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours focused on the issue of targets for NHS dentistry in England, and highlighted that failure to meet these could mean patients are put at risk, or dentists could go out of business. Keep and eye out for more coverage of this important topic.
  • The Scotsman and STV meanwhile reported on BDA warnings that action is needed to minimise wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19 on the future of education, training and the sustainability of the NHS workforce.
  • Last night’s edition of BBC’s Inside Health focused on oral health and the impact COVID-19 is having on dentistry. While in Northern Ireland, Richard Graham, BDA chair of Northern Ireland dental practice committee, was also on radio to tell the public about Health Service dentistry during the pandemic.





Vaccination and the dental team


Dental teams around the country have been urged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at the earliest possible opportunity.


Our FAQs may help answer your questions about COVID-19 and vaccination:


  • How can I access the COVID-19 vaccine?
  • If I'm vaccinated, is full PPE essential?
  • Is the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory?
  • What if I'm pregnant?





Scotland: PDS facing many challenges


In a recent blog, Graham Smith, Chair of the Scottish PDS Committee, highlighted the massive backlog of unmet dental need and the future capacity concerns facing the service.


“Our continued operation of the UDCs has come at a cost, as the backlog of unmet dental care for our core patients has continued to grow. These patients include care home residents, children with additional needs and adults with disability.


“This was clear from the PDS survey we conducted late last year. As one dentist starkly put it: 'I would like to be doing my normal clinics, these patients are being neglected.' ”




Wednesday 3 February 2021



Winning the argument for prison dentists


After five years of campaigning on your behalf, prison dentists are now no longer excluded from the NHS pensions scheme. In his recent blog, lead negotiator for the BDA on behalf of prison dentists' pensions Nilesh Patel, tells us how the argument was won on prison pensions.


“When we identified this issue in 2015, we raised it with various teams across NHS Dental and NHS Health and Justice. We explained the unique position dentists have within the NHS, and that they had been denied benefits they were legally entitled to.


“Progress was slow, but we persisted... by 2018, NHS representatives agreed that a mistake had been made and they admitted liability.”






Pensions win for prison dentists


After five years of campaigning on your behalf, we’re happy to announce that prison dentists are no longer excluded from the NHS pensions scheme. If you have worked as a prison dentist, you may have been incorrectly excluded from the NHS pensions scheme. Your contributions can now be included retrospectively.


For advice on what this change might mean for you members can login to access our prison pensions FAQs   or get in touch with our team on


Non-members can join today to access our FAQs or reach out to the NHS BSA for more information.





Wales: Q4 contract update expected soon


We continue to actively engage with the Chief Dental Officer for Wales on NHS contract plans for Q4 of 2020/2021 and beyond. Yesterday, Dr Bridgman indicated that practices can soon expect to receive further correspondence from Welsh Government around NHS contractual support, the position of contract reform going forward and clarity around Q4 2020/2021 monitoring. These are important issues and we look forward to being able to update you soon.





Dental students: The latest on Dental Foundation Training


In a recent blog, the Chair of the BDA Students Committee, Paul Blaylock discusses the latest on entry to Dental Foundation Training and how it’s been affected by the pandemic:


“Undergraduates are the dental professionals of the future and we couldn't be more impressed with how they've coped with the past year and the upheaval in their training. I know that some students have provided valuable volunteering support throughout the pandemic, and many have persevered with their studies in face of considerable uncertainty and disruption. However, delays and concerns remain.


“That’s why we, the BDA Students Committee, met with Peter Briggs, Lead Dean for DFT at Health Education England (HEE), on 13 January to find out what we can expect in the months ahead.”






Wales: A syllabus for dental nurse training


We have met with the All Wales Faculty for Dental Care Professionals, at Bangor University, to discuss the development of a syllabus for dental nurse training at Level 3, ahead of a formal consultation stage due to be released shortly. We will be actively engaging in the process and providing feedback around development of a mentoring framework for the supervision of those in dental nurse training. We will update you when more information is available.





England: CQC registration delays


Yesterday, BDA Chair Eddie Crouch wrote to Ian Trenholm, the Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission to raise members' concerns regarding the delays in registration at the Commission.


Current delays appear to be between 16-20 weeks and this is impacting the transfer of dental practices via sales as the documentation with CQC is essential for transactions to be completed.


The repercussions of these delays are significant as members seek to secure transactions within the current financial year, before possible capital gains changes. That's why, we are seeking assurances that there is a plan in place to tackle this backlog.



Tuesday 2 February 2021



Scotland: Letter to government on disruption to dental schools


It is still unclear whether Scotland's dental schools will graduate classes in 2021. We are concerned for the impact this will have on students, universities and the provision of dental care across Scotland.


Today we have warned the Scottish Government that action is needed to minimise wide-ranging repercussions on the future of education, training and the sustainability of the NHS workforce.


In an open letter to Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman MSP and Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP, we have called on the government to support undergraduates who are required to take additional periods of study via an emergency bursary, and to offer appropriate support for dental schools covering tuition fees, teaching grant and clinical placement funding. There must be also ongoing support for the network of NHS trainers who take on trainees following graduation.


We have stressed that any inaction will make the huge backlog facing Scotland’s dental services even more difficult to clear.


This issue has been discussed in the media today and we will keep you updated on all progress as it unfolds.





Video: The impact of COVID-19 on dentistry


Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have done all we can to support the profession. We are the first dental organisation that government ministers will liaise with and we represent you when and where it matters.


As the pandemic continues, and while we still have many issues to overcome, we will continue to work with you and continue to fight for you.


Because together, we are stronger.






England: Rise in DIY dentistry, a direct result of government policies


Boots the chemist has reported sales of at-home dental kits for lost fillings, caps, and crowns were up by 87% in the last three months of 2020, compared with the previous year.


We believe that this surge in sales of DIY dental kits reflect the policies adopted by government since the first lockdown, and have stressed that the targets imposed on 1 January will be incompatible with addressing the urgent backlog of cases. BDA Chair, Eddie Crouch called for a better approach, saying:


"In the first lockdown patients in pain were left with few options. Now Ministers have imposed targets that are forcing dentists to prioritise volume over need… We need help to restore access for the patients that need us most."



Monday 1 February 2021



England: PPE reimbursement until 20 February 2021


The window for NHS practices in England to claim for PPE reimbursement closes this month. It is accessible until 20 February 2021. According to the guidance, no further claims will be accepted after this date.


All claims must be for COVID-19 PPE used in the provision of NHS dental services between 27 February and 31 December 2020. You can submit your claims via the PPE Reimbursement Claim Form in Compass.


More information on PPE reimbursement claims.





Guidance on AGPs updated but unchanged


Last week the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) issued an update to their ‘Rapid Review of the Mitigation of Aerosol Generating Procedures in Dentistry’ within a new appendix and as a standalone document.


The four nation Working Group considered the implications of the substantial increase in prevalence of COVID-19 infections in recent months, the emergence of more transmissible variants of SARS-CoV-2, no reports of transmission associated with dental care, the greater availability of testing and the vaccination programme that has recently commenced.


However, the Working Group agreed that at present, despite these developments, the agreed positions and other conclusions within the Rapid Review remain unchanged. The latest standard operating procedures are therefore unchanged in your area and the dental IPC guidance remains the benchmark for safe practice and quality care.


For more information on government guidance and vaccination, see our FAQs.





Have you been affected by people who think COVID-19 is a hoax?


The Guardian is currently reaching out to all UK healthcare staff who’ve had to deal with security issues or conspiracy theories from people who do not believe in COVID-19. If you or your dental team have encountered these attitudes you may wish to take part.


Some of the questions being asked include: have hoaxes and conspiracy theories about coronavirus affected your work? Have you had to treat patients or deal with loved ones who do not believe COVID-19 is real? Have you experienced any related security issues in the workplace or anywhere else?





Northern Ireland: Mental health support for GDS practitioners


In a recent blog, Former BDA President Roz Mc Mullan, outlined the support available to GDS practitioners in Northern Ireland through the GDS assistance programme.


“The GDS assistance programme is a one-stop-shop for mental health and wellbeing support, and is available all year round. It is designed to help practitioners prioritise their wellbeing and resilience across all areas of life - both personal and professional.


“The programme provides a broad range of accessible tools, methods and interventions to support stress management and mental health. These include timely access to counselling, psychoeducation, the popular ‘iHelpr chatbot’, book recommendations and bereavement support and more.”






Wales: Take part in our mental health survey


We are inviting all dentists working in Wales to take part in a confidential survey, which looks at the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of dentists in Wales. This survey will provide valuable evidence for future policy work on mental health regarding dentists working in Wales.


Whether or not you feel the pandemic has affected your mental health, we are greatly interested in hearing from you, so we can gain a balanced and full picture. Please also share this link with your colleagues, as you do not need to be a member to take part.


Take the survey: Mental health of dentists in Wales