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Updates from week commencing 17 October 2022

Read all the updates that took place throughout this week.

Friday 21 October 2022



ARF up 1.5% for dentists


The General Dental Council has today confirmed the new Annual Retention Fee (ARF) level at £690 for dentists, a 1.5% increase, with DCP rates remaining unchanged at £114.


The regulator had consulted on a higher ARF rate, around a 7% rise to £730 per year for dentists and a 5% rise for DCPs to £120. We have pressed for restraint in light of unprecedented cost of living pressures facing all team members.


In its announcement, the GDC confirms that the decision has been made amid concerns about the UK's economic situation and that it may need to increase the ARF in 2024 and 2025 due to high and sustained inflation, but makes a commitment to limit any raises to the rate of inflation at most. It has also confirmed that the decision to keep the fee low this year means that the likelihood that it will need to draw on its reserves will be high.


The GDC's three-year strategy and costed corporate plan were also approved. It has published an announcement and information on its reserves policy.




Clarification of National Standards of Healthcare Cleanliness

The Chief Dental Officer has confirmed in her latest bulletin that many of the issues set out the National Standards of Healthcare Cleanliness 2021 are not required to be undertaken in general practice.


Following our continued pressure for clarification, the bulletin confirms: "'technical' cleanliness and the efficacy of the cleaning process are currently only applicable in healthcare environments providing services under the NHS Standard Contract i.e. for all contracts for healthcare services OTHER than primary care.  We can confirm the GDS and PDS contract-holding dental practices will not be required to complete the various templates outlined in the document.  


"However, the guidance on cleaning requirements and how it should be done sets a benchmark for quality to which all should aspire. Practices should continue to demonstrate IPC and cleanliness compliance with the existing templates for cleaning schedules, training logs and audits and have them available for both the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and NHS IPC inspection teams"


We have altered our cleaning schedules for Expert members to meet these standards. The CQC has also updated its Dental Mythbuster 38: Infection prevention and control confirming that there are "no expectations relating to star ratings or logos in dental practices".





Northern Ireland: Child oral health demands action


We have urged Stormont to address oral health inequalities as statistics have revealed that almost 100,000 children have required extractions since 2017.


Most of these extractions are linked to poor oral hygiene. It is unacceptable that this number of children are being put under general anaesthetic due to rotten teeth.


The consequences of poor dental health in children can have a lifelong impact. Current initiatives do not go far enough, there must be a focus on nationwide promotion of better dental health in the future.





England: MPs back urgent action plan for dentistry


Yesterday MPs backed a cross-party call for government to set out an action plan to address the workforce and access crises in NHS dentistry.


The debate, which we helped secure, saw MPs on both sides of the House speak as one on the need for real and sustainable funding.


With a new Prime Minister set to take up office next week, and suspicions that 'efficiency savings' will be sought across Whitehall, meaningful reform of NHS dentistry faces new challenges. Our thanks to the hundreds of members who reached out to their MPs ahead of the debate.



Thursday 20 October 2022


Northern Ireland: Inspire offers emotional and wellbeing support

Katy Skelton from Inspire recently gave a presentation at an all-area LDC on the General Dental Services (GDS) Assistance Programme.

The Inspire service is commissioned by the Department of Health, and all dentists in Northern Ireland working in GDS can access the service. It runs on a self-referral basis and is independent and confidential.

We also offer access to Health Assured for all our members across the UK, a confidential service including counselling and emotional support 24/7.


Library: New leadership skills book available

Leadership Skills for Dental Professionals: Begin Well to Finish Well by Raman Bedi et al has been added to our library.

A guide to better leadership in dentistry, it is designed to prepare every member of the dental team for the leadership tasks and challenges faced in general practice.

The book is available to read online, and members can reserve the hard copy from our library.

Wednesday 19 October 2022


Updated advice section: Radiation

We have amended our advice section on radiation to include a link to the FGDP's Guidance Notes for Dental Practitioners on the Safe Use of X-ray Equipment which is endorsed by the College of General Dentistry.

For members, our guidance note  on that document and a new Radiograph Quality Audit  advice note are also available.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a member you can join online or over the phone by calling 020 7563 4550.


Stoptober 2022: Oral cancer toolkit

Smoking is one of the lead drivers for oral cancers, and over 90% of all oral cancer cases could be avoided.

Public Health England's Stoptober campaign aims to support people to quit smoking, and dentists can take part by encouraging their patients to do so.

Our oral cancer toolkit is also available to dental teams and contains information to improve your knowledge of the prevention and detection of oral cancer.

Tuesday 18 October 2022


England: Further cuts will kill NHS dentistry


Following yesterday's emergency statement on the public finances ushering in a likely return of austerity, we've warned any further cuts risk destroying any prospect of saving NHS dentistry in England.


In an open letter to the new Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt MP, we've stressed that without meaningful investment a reform process looks doomed from the outset, and that any further 'efficiency savings' will critically undermine existing dental providers and further erode access to the public. 

We are continuing to press for a decisive break from this failed contract - dubbed by Parliament's Health and Social Care Committee as 'not fit for purpose' during Mr Hunt's time as its chair - underpinned by sustainable investment. 

Monday 17 October 2022


Clarification of safeguarding training levels

We have clarified the required safeguarding training levels in general practice following requests from members. Our previous advice suggested that level 3 training was required for a Dental Care Practitioner (DCP) with a specific safeguarding role in general practice, however, this is not the case.

The CQC competency framework confirms that level 2 training is sufficient for General Dental Practitioners and staff, and that level 3 is for paediatric dentists and paediatric orthodontists. This training is not normally required for dentists and dental care professionals working in general dental practice.

In larger organisations, a DCP with a specific role may require level 3 training. In these circumstances, The Safeguarding Children and Young People: Roles and Competencies for Healthcare Staff states that the precise number of dentists and dental care professionals requiring level 3 competencies should be determined locally based on an assessment of need and risk. Organisations may choose to train all staff up to level 3, but it is not required.

Our policies have been amended to reflect this change.



Template: Adverse incidents update

We have updated our template protocol for reporting and managing incidents  and near misses in your dental practice.

In line with Duty of Candour obligations practices should encourage openness and honesty at all levels. Patient safety must be taken seriously, and it is important to ensure that any incidents are kept to a minimum.

Our full range of practice templates, checklists and audits are available to Expert members. To access our full range of services you can join online or call 020 7563 4550.