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Updates from week commencing 11 April 2022

Read all the updates that took place throughout this week.

Thursday 14 April 2022



Scotland: Guidance issued on funding to improve dental equipment


The Scottish Government has now issued guidance for practices that expressed an interest in the funding for ventilation improvements. This outlines the application process.


Practices can claim costs for the purchase, renewal or repair of the following:

  • Dental Chair
  • Dental Operating Light
  • Cuspidor/Spittoon
  • Dental Suction
  • Dental Compressor
  • Dental X-ray Unit.

Practices can request additional items at the discretion of their NHS Board. A practice can claim up to a maximum allowance payment of £2,500 per individual surgery. The amount allocated will be pro-rata, based on a practice's NHS commitment percentage. As a condition of the payment, all contractors within a practice need to continue to provide general dental services until 1 April 2024.


NHS Boards will provide instruction to practices on their local process for making a claim. Applications must be received by 30 June 2022.





Hospital dentistry: Issues facing SAS grade dentists 


In a recent blog John Ho-A-Yun, BDA SAS representative in Scotland, has outlined the issues facing SAS grade dentists across the UK. From new contracts to a lack of funding for career development, John outlines what we are doing on your behalf. 

"The window of opportunity to express interest in transferring to the new SAS contracts has been extended in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. So far, there have only been low numbers of contractual transfers and disappointment at the lack of career progression to the "specialist" grade.

"In Scotland, staff side negotiations [on contracts] are being carried out by the BMA. I sit on the SAS Negotiations Reference Group which informs the negotiating committee directly."


Safeguarding: Advice and expert templates

The dental team has an ethical responsibility to know about local protection procedures for adults and children, and to follow them if they might be at risk of abuse or neglect. Our advice on safeguarding  children and adults clearly outlines what you need to know. This includes information on disclosure, record keeping and different types of abuse.

Expert members can also access our safeguarding templates:

Wednesday 13 April 2022


Infection Prevention and Control: Two-day conference – Birmingham

In 2020 NHSE/I rolled out their vision of the NHS Long Term Plan for Infection Prevention and Control, with strong themes around AMR and Gram-Negative bloodstream infections. Throughout 2020, and much of 2021, we saw the biggest global pandemic in recent history, COVID-19. Themes for this national meeting will therefore include amongst others, outbreak management, improving hand hygiene (and auditing procedures), and decontamination/cleaning protocols, as well as a focus on reducing the contribution of dental antibiotics to antimicrobial resistance.

The Infection Prevention and Control conference will take place from 26-27 April 2022 in the National Conference Centre in Birmingham. Admission is free for NHS staff but there is a fee for cancelling less than 48 hours in advance.


Stress Awareness Month: Supporting patients’ mental health

Up to one in six adults in the general population are affected by mental health disorders. Although these conditions are becoming increasingly common, there is currently very little literature available to support dental teams in managing patients facing a mental health crisis.

The BDJ recently published a paper collating advice to provide you with basic tools to support your patients if they appear to be in crisis. This includes valuable sources of professional support you can signpost your patients to, if it is appropriate or required.

Most dental health professionals will meet patients with mental health conditions in the course of their work. It is important for you, and your patient, to know what reasonable adjustments may need to be made and how to cope when this happens.

Tuesday 12 April 2022


Northern Ireland: Statutory sick pay extension

The Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme for claiming back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for coronavirus related absences, is now closed for employers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, the situation in Northern Ireland, in relation to paying SSP for Covid absence from the first day of absence, remains the same until 24 September 2022.


The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Extension of Provisions Relating to Statutory Sick Pay) Order (Northern Ireland) 2022 states that the rules relating to SSP for covid related absences are extended until 24 September 2022. So, the payment rules in Northern Ireland relating to employees being paid SSP for the first three days of absence are extended.


This temporary removal of the three-day waiting period for employees claiming SSP as a result of COVID-19 only. If the employee cannot work while self-isolating, because of a Covid related absence, they could get SSP for every day they are in isolation, from day one. They must however self-isolate for at least four days to be eligible.


Further information and conditions can be found on the Labour Relations website


Dental students and recent graduates: Share your views on debt
We are concerned about the impact of study-related debt on students across the UK. If you are a final year dental student or recent graduate, we want to hear more about your experience of study-related borrowing.

By sharing your views, you will be helping to shape our work on your behalf. Your responses are confidential, anonymous and will inform our campaign activity to support the continuance of the NHS bursary. You will also be supporting us to represent your interests more effectively and improve the benefits and services we provide.

It only takes 15 minutes to complete our survey, and by sharing your views before the closing date on 19 April, you could win a £50 gift card.


Lords demand dentists have voice on dental age checks

We continue to lobby against the introduction of the unethical and inaccurate practice of using dental X-rays to assess the age of undocumented child migrants. When debating the latest iteration of our suggested amendment, many Lords expressed their objection to the use of ionising radiation for non-clinical purposes in migration cases, and their disappointment that the Government continues to refuse to listen to expert advice on this issue. 

Baronesses Hamwee and Lister both reiterated the unethical nature of using X-rays for determining age, quoting BDA evidence. They insisted that – at the very least – a practising dentist must be included on the Age Estimation Science Advisory Committee, which will advise the Government on the accuracy and ethics of various scientific methods of age assessment. Shadow Home Office Minister Lord Coaker said he found it “remarkable” that the Government refused to heed this “perfectly reasonable and moderate ask”. 

Lord Harris of Haringey – the current Chair of the GDC – also spoke up against the use of dental age checks, stressing the BDA was “very exercised” by this issue. He questioned whether migrants undergoing such checks would not be under duress to agree to them, and warned that for a dentist, “to carry out a dental X-ray without that free consent is unethical and against all professional standards”. 

We are requesting a meeting with the Chair of the Committee Baroness Black and will continue our campaign to definitively rule out radiographic age tests.

Monday 11 April 2022 


Water fluoridation: Public consultation launched 

In order to inform that legislation, the Department of Health and Social Care has launched a public consultation seeking views on how it proposes to consult on future water fluoridation schemes. The consultation will run from 8 April to 3 June. We will be responding as an organisation, but responses are also welcomed from individuals.

Subject to its passage through Parliament, the Health and Care Bill will transfer the power to initiate, vary or terminate water fluoridation schemes from local authorities to the Secretary of State. There will also be a legal duty on the Secretary of State to undertake a formal public consultation on future water fluoridation proposals. Secondary legislation that will be brought forward later in the year will set out the consultation process.

Once feedback is considered the Government will publish a response. 

You may also wish to be aware that the latest Water Fluoridation Health Monitoring Report was published on 21 March 2022 and is available here


Student webinar on wellbeing in dentistry

April is Stress Awareness Month and many dentists, including students, are affected by stress. To help you cope throughout your studies and your future career, Roz McMullen is delivering a webinar on wellbeing in dentistry. Registration is open now, and the webinar starts at 6pm on 4 May 2022.

The webinar will focus on how to care for your wellbeing, and the mental health of those around you. The session will aim to leave you well-equipped to deal with stress in and out of the workplace in the future.