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Updates from week commencing 19 April 2021

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

Friday 23 April 2021



In the news: dental health inequalities


We continue to voice our concerns around the risk of dental health going from bad to worse after the pandemic, if the Government does not support disrupted services.


We have received the following coverage this week:



Much of the coverage also quotes BDA Chair Eddie Crouch: “In a wealthy 21st century nation there’s no reason why decay and deprivation still go hand in hand. Sadly, millions of missed appointments, lockdown diets and the suspension of public health programmes mean things are set to go from bad to worse when it comes to health inequality.”





Scotland: Putting dentistry on the political agenda


Ahead of next month's elections, we have made our case to the next Scottish Government clear:  Action must be taken to bridge oral health inequality and support dentistry.


Since the launch of our manifesto a fortnight ago, extensive newspaper and broadcast coverage of our action plan - including a front page of The Herald - has finally pushed dentistry up the political agenda.


In his blog, Robert Donald, Chair of our Scottish Council, outlines how our oral health manifesto is shaping the election debate and what the next Scottish Government needs to do to bridge oral health inequalities.


"The Scottish National Party has heeded our calls for action to increase access and deliver a new long-term funding model for dentistry. Their manifesto pledges to completely remove patient charges... and to work with the BDA to shape a reformed funding arrangement for NHS dentists so that they are supported for the future".






Wales: Bridging the gap on oral health


Our oral health manifesto for Wales has already made a difference.


Plaid Cymru have devoted an entire section of their manifesto to improving dentistry in Wales, while Welsh Labour have also discussed improving access to dental services within their manifesto.


With the elections coming up, Russell Mark Gidney, Chair of our Welsh General Dental Practice Committee, outlines what the next Welsh Government must do to bridge the gap in oral health inequalities and rebuild dentistry in Wales.


"I urge you to show your support for dentistry by speaking to your local candidate... please explain to them the problems facing NHS dentistry and ask them - if elected - to speak up for dentists and the nation’s oral health in the Senedd."






Visa extensions for health workers during the pandemic


The government has announced that overseas healthcare workers might be able to apply for a one-year visa extension for free. In order to be eligible, healthcare workers must have a current visa that expires between 1 April 2021 and 20 September 2021, and work for the NHS or an independent healthcare provider in an eligible profession. Dental practitioners are included in the list of eligible professions published by the Home Office.


For further information see GOV.UK: Visa extensions for health workers during coronavirus (COVID-19)


Please note that the BDA cannot advise on visa applications.



Thursday 22 April 2021



Members invited to upcoming AGM


Our 2021 Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held online on Thursday 6 May at 19.30. As a BDA member you are invited to attend, however, you must register in advance to gain access.


To register, log into the website and then book the webinar using the pink 'Register' button. That page also has more information regarding the meeting’s agenda, as well as registration and voting by proxy.


Once you have secured your place, you will receive an email with further instructions. We look forward to seeing you there.





New national lead for Dental Public Health at PHE


We offer our congratulations to Dr Anna Ireland on her appointment to the new Dental Public Health lead at Public Health England. We are committed to working with her team both on managing transition to a new public health system, while confronting the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on oral health.


Public Health England's health improvement functions are set to move to the new Office for Health Promotion at the Department of Health and Social care by the autumn. Items on the to do list include:


  • supporting government plans to promote water fluoridation for dental health
  • providing expertise for an England-wide supervised toothbrushing programme for young children, if it materialises following an outstanding consultation intended to take place last year.

The Office for Health Promotion will continue to have an overarching role ensuring there are sufficient Dental Public Health trainees and consultants to deliver the aforementioned Dental Public Health tasks.





Help managing stress: Resources and services


Are you or your colleagues experiencing stress?  


This Stress Awareness Month we encourage you to make use of the resources and services that are available to support dentists and their teams with stress management. Included in our lists are resources for issues such as suicide prevention, addiction and bereavement.


You don't have to be a BDA member to access most of these resources, so please do take a look at what's available to you and consider reaching out. If you are a BDA member, you can also access our 24/7 confidential counselling service. Your mental health matters. If you are experiencing stress, please do reach out.





England: Our guide to help you complete the Coronavirus year-end declaration


NHS practices in England are this year required to complete a Coronavirus 2020-21 year-end declaration.


We know that some practices may be concerned about completing this new form so we have created guidance to help you .


The Coronavirus year-end declaration is a result of the conditions attached to the NHS contract payments.


During the pandemic NHS England continued to make contractual payments on the proviso that practices complied with their requirements, such as ensuring associates and staff were paid at previous levels. In completing the form, practices must make a 'declaration of compliance' with these requirements.


Our guidance explains as best we can what information is expected  from your responses.


Practices who cannot demonstrate compliance may face contractual action. We do not yet know what that action may entail but if payments were made subject to conditions, and the conditions were not met, then it is possible that some or all of those payments will be retracted. We are waiting for further clarification on this.


Our advice team is ready to help with any questions in relation to possible action by local area teams. It would be helpful to us to build up a picture of action being taken by different local area teams.


The Coronavirus 2020-21 year-end declaration eform opened in Compass this week and must be completed by 11:59pm on 31 May 2021.



Wednesday 21 April 2021



Scotland: Your questions on PPE


Following meetings with National Services Scotland (NSS), we have updated our frequently asked questions on PPE.


We are not expecting a decision on PPE supplies being extended beyond June until after the Scottish Parliamentary Election on 6 May. We will continue to liaise with NSS over the coming months to keep these FAQs up to date.





Northern Ireland: Patient registration extension


Following the extension of the Financial Support Scheme into Q1 of the 2021/22 financial year, the Department of Health has confirmed that patient registrations have been extended by a further three months until at least the end of June 2021.


If a patient’s registration was originally set to expire between 12 March 2020 and 31 March 2021, these patient registrations have all been extended until at least 30 June 2021. Any patient who was registered or re-registered prior to 12 March 2018 will have had their registration lapsed prior to the introduction of the Financial Support Scheme and as such will not currently be registered.


However, please note that this distinction only relates to capitation and continuing care fees. Under the terms of the Financial Support Scheme all patients – either registered or unregistered – should be prioritised based on the clinical need and offered emergency and urgent care regardless of registration status.





Northern Ireland: Raising the profile of oral cancer


Today we represented members at the NI Assembly’s All Party Group on Cancer. We secured an important slot to present on oral cancer, to raise the profile of the disease with this influential All Party Group in advance of a revised oral health policy for Northern Ireland being finalised.


Dr Gerry McKenna, Chair of BDA NI Hospitals Group highlighted that more than 60% of head and neck cancers are diagnosed at a late stage in Northern Ireland. He stressed the need to address the lack of awareness among the population of the common signs and symptoms of oral cancers.


Gerry’s presentation illustrated the strong correlation between incidence rates of head and neck cancers across Northern Ireland with highest deprivation levels.


Also highlighted was the collaborative work between Cancer Focus NI and the BDA to highlight concerns regarding oral cancers.


Our thanks to Gerry for making the BDA’s case, Paula Bradshaw for welcoming our presentation and Cancer Focus NI for bringing us together.


The Northern Ireland branch invites dentists to its webinar on Restorative Aspects of Head and Neck cancer and Red Flag referrals on Tuesday 8 June.





Scotland: NHS Education launch on-demand service


The NES Dental CPD team have announced the launch of Portal TV which is a catch-up, on-demand service for webinar recordings. We know members have reported difficulties finding the time to attend NHS webinars and we are glad NES have taken our feedback on board. 


Full details of recordings can be found on the TURAS Learn page under 'Educational Resources'.


We are sure this move will be appreciated by the profession.





Wales: New side agreement for associates


We've produced a side agreement for associates in Wales , which covers quarters one and two and takes into account the revised Welsh Government guidance and contractual requirements.


The Welsh CDO, Colette Bridgman wrote to all primary care dental teams in Wales last month, providing detailed guidance on the contractual arrangements for quarter one and two.


This covers issues such as specialist contracts, UDA delivery, mandatory use of ACORN findings, fluoride varnishes, AGPs, ventilation, and new patients.


Our side agreement for orthodontists will be available soon.





Webinar: Building stress resilience


When thinking about stress, how much is your optimum level and how do you know when you have surpassed it?


Our recent webinar will give you a better understanding and provide you with practical coping strategies when your optimum level has been reached.


Free to members, it will earn you one hour of CPD.




Tuesday 20 April 2021



Update on dental foundation training 


Dental students applying to the national recruitment process for dental foundation training were today updated with further information.   


The information arrived in a combined statement from the Dental Schools Council (DSC), Health Education England (HEE), Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), and the Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency (NIMDTA). 


Their statement hopes to reassure final year dental students that processes are in place to support them with the move to dental foundation training in case their graduation is delayed due to the pandemic.  


Included was also information on the proposed process for this year which will have two stages of the preferencing and allocations process for DFT places. These will be:


  • Stage one: All applicants will be asked to preference places. Those who are eligible for a place and graduate in the summer will receive a place for a September start. 
  • Stage two: Remaining applicants who have been unable to graduate in the summer will be asked to preference again and if eligible receive an offer for a training place starting in early 2022.

An applicant's chance of receiving a DFT place if eligible will not decrease by being included in Stage two.


The exact timelines for preferencing and allocation are still in the process of being determined and will be communicated to applicants as soon as possible. We will continue to update you with more news as and when we have it.





England: UDA value tool available to members


We have updated our UDA value checker with the latest data from the NHS Business Services Authority.


We developed this tool last year to help dentists get to grips with the complicated financial details of the NHS dental contract in England. So far it has been downloaded over 3,000 times by our members.


Why should I use this tool?


  • Access important information about your contract and contracts in your area to easily compare yours with others in the area
  • Approach commissioners with this information when discussing issues around contract delivery clawback and UDA value
  • Help your associates to understand the NHS financial environment in which the practice operates.





Are dentists suffering in silence?


During these difficult times, high quality, timely support to maintain mental wellbeing is needed more than ever. We provide BDA members with free access to Health Assured, a confidential assistance programme. However, we have seen a lower than expected uptake, in comparison to other healthcare professionals. Are dentists having trouble asking for help with their mental health?


This Stress Awareness Month, Sian Hammersley of Health Assured looks at the take up of our 24/7 counselling and mental health support services:


“We expected a big surge in requests for support during the first lockdown, but this was slow to materialise. It wasn't until June 2020 that we suddenly saw call volumes increase by 1,200%, and they then peaked again in the typically gloomy winter months. During this time, members used the counselling service for support and guidance for an array of reasons, the most common of which being anxiety, employment issues and work-related stress, low mood and bereavement.”






England: Failing NHS contract responsible for practice closures


Mark Green, BDA North Yorkshire rep, was a guest on BBC Radio York yesterday (listen from 2:05:18) discussing why one of the last NHS dental practices in Scarborough faces closure.


He explained that Scarborough was not unique in terms of the problems it is facing with rising costs and difficulties recruiting dentists. These issues are affecting the whole country and the bottom line is the failing NHS contract.


Last month we warned government 1 in 10 practices face a 'cliff edge' due to the new NHS targets being imposed.





England: Side agreement contract for Associates


We have produced advice and a video to further explain the new UDAs and side agreements for 2021.





Monday 19 April 2021



Watch our webinar on Practitioner Health support services


To mark Stress Awareness Month, we recently held a webinar to improve awareness of mental health and bereavement support available to dentists and trainees.


Professor Dame Clare Gerada, Medical Director of Practitioner Health was joined by Roz McMullan, Past BDA President and advocate for wellbeing in dentistry.


The free session, which provides you with 45 minutes of CPD, covers what you need to know about:


  • Practitioner Health's self-referral support service for mental health issues
  • How to support your team to know that it's OK to not be OK, and to seek professional help
  • The other wellbeing and prevention resources available to you.

Watch: Are you OK? Practitioner Health webinar.





Scotland: What government must do on oral health


This pandemic has caused a colossal backlog of unmet dental care need in Scotland. Stark and persistent inequalities in oral health have also widened over the past year, making investment in prevention essential. Our message to the government is clear. To tackle these unprecedented oral health challenges the next government must:


  • Address the backlog of unmet dental care need
  • Promote prevention to help tackle oral health inequalities
  • Ensure NHS dentistry remains sustainable
  • Improve access for vulnerable groups
  • Integrate oral health with wider public health priorities.

Get behind the headlines, read our 2021 manifesto.





Wales: What government must do on oral health


Dentistry in Wales was in sharp decline even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The last year has seen access to services collapse, and pioneering work in the community to address oral health inequalities left at risk.


Ahead of the Senedd elections, our message to all parties hoping to form the next Welsh government is clear. The next government must:


  • Improve access to NHS dentistry
  • Take action on oral health inequalities
  • Enable a fresh start for dental services post COVID

Get behind the headlines, read our 2021 manifesto.





Stress in dentistry: Resources available from our library


This stress awareness month, our library has put together a virtual package of stress in dentistry content available for members.


We also have the following books available which we post out on loan to members:



Please do take a look at all of our resources and services for managing stress in dentistry.





Members invited to upcoming AGM


Our 2021 Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held online on Thursday 6 May at 19.30. As a BDA member you are invited to attend, however, you must register in advance to gain access.


To register, log into the website and then book the webinar using the pink 'Register' button. That page also has more information regarding the meeting’s agenda, as well as registration and voting by proxy.


Once you have secured your place, you will receive an email with further instructions. We look forward to seeing you there.