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Updates from week commencing 19 July 2021

Read all the updates that took place throughout this week.

Friday 23 July 2021



Risk assessment: Fully-vaccinated staff who are told to self-isolate


We have produced a risk assessment form which allows practices in England to consider whether a full vaccinated member of staff, who has been identified as a COVID-19 contact, may attend work.


There is some confusion regarding “pingdemic” – and you should be aware that in England the latest government guidance for staff working in health and social care settings states:


  • If staff absence creates a significant risk to the health or safety of patients or service users, health and social care staff whose activities are critical to the ongoing provision of care - and who have been identified as a contact of a case of COVID-19 - may be able to attend work rather than self-isolate if they are fully vaccinated (more than 14 days after the second dose).
  • These staff members should only attend work after having a negative PCR test and daily negative LFD antigen tests. This must only occur in exceptional circumstances and where additional safety measures can be upheld. The decision must also be subject to a practice risk assessment process which should involve “the senior clinical leadership, commissioner and local DPH”.
  • Any staff who return to work following these risk assessments must adhere to legal isolation requirements at all other times, ie. when not at (or travelling to) work.





Cosmetic injectables under scrutiny


The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing is calling on the government to address the need for regulation of cosmetic procedures and the associated injectable cosmetic agents, including appropriate insurance.


MPs have made 17 recommendations following concerns that the insufficient legal framework governing these treatments has left patients at risk and undermined the industry’s ability to develop. We’re urged dentists to be appropriately protected, as MPs call on the government to end the 'Wild West' of non-surgical beauty treatments. Len D’Cruz Head of BDA Indemnity said:


“Our policyholders are indemnified for the use and administration of facial cosmetic injectable procedures above the lower border of the mandible. This is part of all Extra and Expert members’ policy terms. This has been the case since the indemnity policy exclusively for BDA members was launched three years ago.


“The use of injectable cosmetic treatments in the peri-oral area is a useful adjunct to dental treatment when provided by a suitably trained dentist. In addition, your patients are protected by your indemnity arrangements and a process for managing complaints if anything should go wrong.”





Webinar: Infection control problems and how to avoid them


Join us on Thursday 16 September 2021, 19:30 – 20:30, for a webinar from Nikolai Stankiewicz GDP and co-author of BDJ Clinical Guide ‘Infection control in primary dental care.’


Free to members, £50 to non-members. This one-hour presentation will update those working in general dental practice on the principles of cross infection control. It will help you:


  • Be aware of the 10 most common compliance problems in infection control
  • Understand how these problems can be avoided in their practice
  • Ensure the requirements of HTM105, the CQC and GDC are being met.





Lilian Lindsay: Celebrating a pioneer


Lillian Lindsay was the first woman to qualify as a dentist in the UK in 1895. This week we’re celebrating her 150th birthday.


The head of our museum, Rachel Bairsto, discusses her pioneering life and reflects on how inspiring women continue to drive our profession forward today.


"There are now more female dental practitioners than male, and an even greater number of female graduates entering the profession. We know there’s still progress to be made in terms of gender equality. Indeed, that’s part of the mission of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.”




Thursday 22 July 2021



New podcast on dental careers options


We have launched a new podcast series called Chairside: Conversations about careers in dentistry. Over six episodes, this podcast explores the unlimited, unknown and maybe even unexpected opportunities that qualifying as a dentist opens up to you.


Andrea Ogden GDP chats to dental professionals from across the UK about the paths they took that changed the course of their careers - covering your most requested topics and most frequently asked questions about career options.


Listen on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify or search “BDA Chairside” on your chosen podcast platform.





Scotland: Opening door for students


In a recent blog, dental student Georgia Halkett looks at how the new student bursary scheme in Scotland is benefitting dental students and what other support is available to them:


“The COVID-19 pandemic had a massive impact on the lives of dental students in Scotland. Some are facing the prospect of having to repeat a year of training, many more have spent the last year worried about their financial stability and their futures.


“Thankfully, a student bursary scheme was announced by the Scottish Government in February, following campaigning by the BDA. This financial assistance extends a lifeline to students and makes an enormous difference to students’ levels of debt, mental wellbeing and career options. Here I look at what supports are available to dental students in Scotland as we navigate this new normal together.”






Advice on COVID-19: Updates to our FAQs


Designed to give you and your practice the advice you need, our COVID FAQs are frequently updated with the latest information. Members’ most frequently asked questions currently include:


  • Should I use the NHS COVID-19 app?
  • Should my practice use lateral flow tests?
  • Must patients wear face coverings?
  • If I'm vaccinated, is full PPE essential?
  • Is the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory?
  • What if a staff member is told to self-isolate?





World Dental Congress 2021


This year’s World Dental Congress will be the first to be held entirely online, making it easier than ever to attend.


Co-hosted by the Australian Dental Association and the FDI World Dental Federation, this event will begin on 26 September. Featuring over 100 speakers, more than 200 sessions and a virtual exhibition, it aims to bring the global dental community together to share ideas, knowledge, and experiences, as well as the latest in practice, research, and industry.





Northern Ireland: Fees guide 2020/21


In Northern Ireland, the DDRB process has long been fraught with significant delay, evidenced by the new SDR incorporating the pay uplift for 20/21 having only just been issued. We will continue to push for unacceptable delays to be taken out of the system, and for all dentists to receive above inflation pay uplifts that reflects the vital work done by dentists across the UK.


We’re also supporting members in Northern Ireland with our updated Fees Guide 2020-21 , which you may find a useful ready reckoner. Members should refer to the full Statement of Dental Remuneration for the details of the relevant fees and the exact wording of the narrative.



Wednesday 21 July 2021



3% NHS pay uplift confirmed


The UK government has now confirmed the NHS pay award for 2021/22 at 3%.


This meets the recommendations of the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration in full, and we are now seeking urgent clarity from devolved governments on their approach.


This should mean:


  • Community dentists will receive the 3% uplift in full
  • A final uplift to contract values for GDPs will be confirmed following consultations on expenses in the four UK nations.
  • Consultants will see a 3% uplift in basic pay (Specialty and Associate Specialists (SAS) and Juniors have separately agreed pay deals).


We have encouraged practice owners to engage with their associate dentists to discuss their contractual arrangements in light of the uplift. BDA Deputy Chair Peter Crooks has said: "Both providers and performers need to see the benefit of this uplift. This has been a hard year for practices, but we look to owners to ensure this increase reaches their associates. Even before COVID, a growing number of colleagues saw no future in the NHS. If we're ever going to make this service a going concern, fair pay must remain the rule."





Confidential counselling and emotional support


Students! Associates! Practice owners! Did you know that every member has access to confidential counselling and emotional support?


Health Assured is designed to help you deal with personal and professional problems that could be affecting your home life or work life, health, and general wellbeing. Members can access the helpline 24/7, 365 days a year. Support includes:


  • Unlimited access to counselling for emotional problems and a pathway to structured telephone counselling for you or your dependents and for you face-to-face counselling sessions at your convenience.
  • Legal information: Advice on issues that cause anxiety or distress such as debt management, accountancy, lawsuits, consumer disputes, property or neighbour disputes.
  • Bereavement support: Qualified and experienced counsellors who can help with grief and related stress plus a team of legal advisors to help with legal issues.
  • CBT online: We recognise the value of self-help tools in dealing with a range of issues, which is why we have a range of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy self-help modules, informative factsheets and invaluable advice videos from leading qualified counsellors.





England: Revised guidance on phased courses of treatment


The Office of the Chief Dental Officer (OCDO) for England has issued a revised note for the avoidance of doubt on phased courses of treatment.


The guidance has been updated to incorporate further information about prevention and how the guidance can apply to the treatment of periodontal disease. The note sets out when it may be appropriate to phase treatment over up to three courses of treatment and the processes that should be followed to do so.





England: Levelling up dentistry in coastal communities


A national strategy is needed to tackle poor health and access problems in seaside towns, according to a landmark report from England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty.


Coastal communities have experienced higher levels of oral health inequality and chronic recruitment and retention issues for dental staff.


“It’s the same story across too many of our seaside towns,” BDA Chair Eddie Crouch told the BBC, “with practices struggling to fill vacancies, and patients unable to secure care.”


“The government has already recognised the need to act when it comes to GP services in these areas. If Ministers are serious about 'levelling up' then dentistry cannot be the missing piece.”





New GDC Chair, a chance to turn the page


The General Dental Council (GDC) last week announced the appointment of Baron Harris of Haringey ("Lord Toby Harris") as new Chair of Council, and Angie Heilmann MBE, who joins as a registrant Council Member. Both will take up their new posts on 1 October 2021, when the current Chair Dr William Moyes and Council Member Catherine Brady leave office.


Lord Toby Harris currently chairs the National Preparedness Commission and has previously chaired several public sector bodies, including the first Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA). He also spent 12 years leading the Association of Community Health Councils, representing the interests of the public in the NHS.


In response to Baron Harris' appointment, BDA Chair Eddie Crouch has said: "We are disappointed that the GDC has again chosen not to select a dentist as Chair. This would have been an important step to rebuild trust with this profession. However, a new face offers an opportunity to turn the page. We send our congratulations to Baron Harris and offer our commitment to work with him and his team to secure the cost-effective, right-touch regulation dentistry desperately needs."



Tuesday 20 July 2021



Making your voice heard: Obesity and oral health


BDA President Elect, Professor Liz Kay, spoke at a Parliamentary event this morning to mark a year since the launch of the government’s latest obesity strategy.


The event, organised by Novo Nordisk in partnership with the Association for the Study of Obesity and Obesity UK, heard from a panel of experts as well as the Health Minister Jo Churchill MP.


In her contributions, Prof Kay stressed that, to drive effective policy change, the debate must be re-framed as addressing diet-related ill-health in all forms, not limited to obesity. A whole-system approach is needed to tackle the underlying problems of poverty, the food environment and food culture, which are driving widening inequalities. She noted that policy measures to reduce sugar consumption will be beneficial for oral and general health; people need the healthy choices to be made easier.


We continue to press for further government action to improve diets, including tackling holiday hunger in children, adopting strategies proposed in the new National Food Strategy and pressing for strengthening of the public health measures included in the Health and Care Bill currently going through Parliament.





Wales: Revised SOPs expected soon


Baroness Morgan has written to confirm that the revised SOP is due to be released shortly. The Minister for Health and Social Services also confirmed that Health Education and Improvement Wales are considering the commissioning of training numbers, training and education packages for health care professionals to help develop the workforce. Workforce issues would also be addressed as part of our dental reform programme.


The letter also states that while it has been necessary to suspend the Designed to Smile (D2S) national oral health improvement programme during the pandemic, they hope to re-start these tooth-brushing schemes in the Autumn 2021 term, depending on the alert level in Wales and prevalence of COVID-19 within local communities.


Overall, it's clear that the return of services will continue to be gradual. Dental services will be delivered to those most in need, with the numbers being treated increasing as the COVID-19 risk reduces.





England: Primary care must get seat at the table on commissioning


We have joined with partners across primary care to ensure dentists, pharmacists, opticians and audiologists have a proper voice on Integrated Care Boards (ICBs), which are set to be handed responsibility for commissioning decisions.


The Health and Care Bill currently before Parliament would shift the responsibility for managing the contracts for primary NHS services, including general practice, general dental practice, community pharmacy and primary optometry services from NHS England to ICBs.


BDA Chair Eddie Crouch said: “The crucial contribution non-medical primary care professionals make to the local health and care systems must be recognised and reflected at every level of the NHS, including within Integrated Care Boards.”





England: Change to isolation guidance for vaccinated staff


Guidance has been issued to clarify the process for allowing essential frontline staff (both NHS and private) to return to work following a negative PCR if they have been asked to isolate due to potential contact with COVID-19. The practice will have to prove that there is a risk that staff absence would lead to potential patient harm eg via a lack of service provision.


Members of the dental team, who are fully vaccinated (14 days post second dose), may be brought back to work in exceptional cases, rather than having to self-isolate, subject to the successful and agreed completion of a local risk assessment, in conjunction with the Regional IPC and Director of Public Health.


The following are also required: provision of subsequent negative daily LFD tests for a minimum of 7 days (with test results reported to Test and Trace via the web portal and to their duty manager or an identified senior staff member), appropriate use of IPC measures, including social distancing in the workplace when not undertaking clinical work and the use of PPE in line with the current UK IPC Guidance. It is important to note that any staff who are able to return to work following these risk assessments must adhere to legal isolation requirements at all other times — when not at or travelling to work.


NHS staff who would normally care for highly vulnerable patients may also be re-deployed to another area.


This system is temporary, as from 16 August, people who have received two coronavirus vaccinations will not have to isolate if the come into contact with a COVID case.


Members should note that the guidance does gives employers the right to allow staff to return to work, not the right to compel them to return to work.



Monday 19 July 2021



England: Looking for feedback from dental trainees


Health Education England is re-designing its dental education hub and is looking for feedback from dental trainees across all stages of training.


The remote user testing exercise will take 15 minutes to complete.


Your input will help ensure the design and information architecture of the dental hub meets users' needs.





England: New rules on self-isolation


People who have received two coronavirus vaccinations will not have to isolate after 16 August 2021, according to new regulations.


In the interim, the latest government guidance (published today for staff working in health and social care settings) states:


  • If staff absence creates a significant risk to the health or safety of patients or service users, health and social care staff whose activities are critical to the ongoing provision of care - and who have been identified as a contact of a case of COVID-19 - may be able to attend work rather than self-isolate if they are fully vaccinated (more than 14 days after the second dose).
  • Staff members should only attend work after having a negative PCR test and daily negative LFD antigen tests. This must only occur in exceptional circumstances and where additional safety measures can be upheld. The decision is subject to a risk assessment by an individual.


It is still unclear what the impact of this new guidance will be in relation to dental teams. We are seeking urgent clarification on the situation.





England: Face coverings must still be worn in healthcare settings


Following our recent message to the Prime Minister, England's Chief Nursing Officer Ruth May has now clarified that face coverings must still be worn in healthcare settings: "Face coverings and social distancing measures will remain in place across healthcare settings so that the most vulnerable people can continue to safely attend hospital, their GP surgery, pharmacy or any other healthcare settings for advice, care and treatment. And it is important for the public to continue to play their part when visiting NHS and care settings to help protect our staff and patients, particularly those who may be more vulnerable to infections."


This provides much needed clarity for our members. Chair of the BDA, Eddie Crouch, has made clear: "When visiting a dentist face coverings, social distancing and hand washing remain fundamentals not optional extras. Wider changes that take place on Monday will have no impact on how the public should approach accessing our services."