Internet Explorer and Edge browser users:
To download Word, Excel or PowerPoint files please right-click on the file you wish to download, and select 'Save target as...'

Updates from week commencing 20 July 2020

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

Friday 24 July



Fallow time and aerosol generating procedures


Once again this week we are waiting for publication of the expected review into fallow period and ventilation in general dental practice.


To recap, a short life working group has commissioned a study, which has been undertaken by National Services Scotland. This is looking at the 60 minute recommendation of a fallow period after an aerosol generating procedure. We again understand that the report is imminent.


Separately, the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme is undertaking a wide-ranging review into aerosol generating procedures. That SDCEP review is looking at the latest research and working with experts on fallow microbiology, particulate measuring devices, and the air flow and mitigation measures in place worldwide.


We are actively contributing to that process and will keep you posted on developments.



Thursday 23 July



Are masks in surgeries mandatory?


We have received a lot of queries from practice owners who want to ensure that all patients entering their premises are wearing a mask. From midnight in England, masks will be mandatory in enclosed public spaces including supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, transport hubs, banks and post offices. 


However, this new regulation does not extend to dental surgeries and patients cannot be legally forced to adopt a covering. 


You can however, keep your own supply of masks and request that all patients wear one before entering your surgery.


There is more guidance on face masks from Public Health England 





COVID-19 crisis and foundation dentists


From reduced clinical experience to a contracting job market, foundation dentists are facing a lot of challenges at the moment. With different approaches being taken to the Final Review of Competency (FRCP) around the UK, some have found the uncertainty frustrating.


Our career development lead and associate dentist, Andrea Ogden, takes a look at the issues facing FDs and speaks to current FD, Onkar Mudhar, to find out how the crisis has impacted his training.





Webinars: Marketing and business know-how


Sign up for these upcoming webinars on business planning and management in the context of COVID-19. 


Communicating in a brave new world:
Mark Oborn takes you through how will marketing change thanks to COVID-19, and what you can do to market your business in the right way. Thursday 6 August 2020, 19:30-20:30.


Dental business know-how:
Spot On Business Planning and MediEstates are joined by Martin Woodrow, Chief Executive of the BDA, to discuss the different scenarios practices have faced and how best to adapt to the new and changing climate. Saturday 25 July 2020, 10:00 – 11:00 (a rerun and was first shown on Wednesday 22 July 2020).





Myth-busting on your behalf


After his recent interview with the Times Radio breakfast programme, Eddie Crouch, Vice Chair of the BDA, has reflected on the on-going need to dispel common myths about dentistry. He outlines why both private and public dentistry need further financial support and how our media campaigns help to make the case for you:


"Right now many dentists are being pushed to breaking point. I’m seeing colleagues’ - friends - businesses at the point of collapse. That’s why, I pointed out to the Times that many dental practices are mixed NHS and private, and that the pay award only relates to the NHS part of our work. Many private dentists are still in need of government support."





Media coverage for the issues that matter to you


We're speaking to national and local media daily to represent you and your interests.


Here's some of the coverage we've received this week:


  • BDA vice chair Eddie Crouch made clear on the Times Radio Breakfast show this week that private dentists have received no support from Government
  • Tristen Kelso told BBC Newsline that in Northern Ireland Health Service and private dentistry have both been hit
  • And on PPE, BBC Radio Oxford cited our figures showing that dental practices are facing a rise in costs of up to 6,000% for PPE. 



Wednesday 22 July


Scotland: Seeking financial support for private dentistry

Our frustration with the lack of support from the government for private dentists was a main focus of this afternoon’s meeting of the Scottish Dental Practice Committee Executive Subcommittee.

We agreed to write to the Minister to once again seek financial support for private dentistry, to build on this morning’s meeting with the Public Health Minister and CDO. We will include evidence from members of the financial difficulties facing mixed practices, especially those with a large percentage of private income.

We will also express concerns to the Minister about the £75 million shortfall facing practices due to the lack of patient charges under the current interim funding model. We will update you once more progress has been made.


Stress: Developing effective coping strategies  

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many dentists have been dealing with unprecedented levels of stress. We launched an online course to help dentists tackle stress and develop effective coping strategies early in the pandemic, and we’ve seen it grow in popularity ever since. If you're thinking about how this course might help you, take a look at some of the feedback it’s received:

“I was surprised how much of the course applied to myself and my working environment. I think the course is presented in an engaging way with good learning opportunities.”

“[The course] has encouraged me to be more open and to discuss my stress issues and not hold it in.”

“l will be implementing the coping strategies from the course, particularly now with the increased job uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”



Scotland: Concerns of private and public dentists raised with Minister


Today we met with Joe FitzPatrick, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, and the Chief Dental Officer to discuss a range of issues about the phased return to dentistry.


During this meeting we highlighted issues that matter to dentists in Scotland - private and public. We also encouraged the Scottish Government to communicate more frequently and effectively with the profession. We reiterated our dissatisfaction with recent engagement from the Scottish Government, and the Minister acknowledged that this has been inadequate.


We urged the Minister to ensure the financial viability of dental practices, and stressed the financial difficulties facing mixed and private practices. We raised your concerns about the long-term funding model for Scottish dentistry with the Minister, with the recognition that the profession will not be returning to pre-Covid arrangements.


The Minister indicated a wish to move towards more productive negotiations and his wish to discuss dentists’ concerns primarily with the BDA, rather than other newly formed dental groups.





Fallow time report to take weeks 


Fallow time is at the forefront of dentists’ minds right now, due to the direct financial impact it has and confusion regarding the effectiveness of the mitigation technologies available.


The Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) group on aerosols are looking at the latest research and working with experts on: microbiology, particulate measuring devices, and the air flow and mitigation measures in place worldwide.


However, Professor Jan Clarkson has said: “There is no blueprint for this. It will be the best review there can be, given the lack of evidence on viral load and infectivity, but it’s going to be four/five weeks minimum before publication."





Armed Forces dentistry and COVID-19


Two dentists recently gave us an insight into the impact of COVID-19 on military dentistry in the UK. Wing Commander Penny Hartley-Green, Senior Dental Officer Royal Air Force, and Dr Brent Weller, Civilian Dental Practitioner in Defence Primary Healthcare, shared how the service and their roles have been affected by the pandemic.


Dr Brent Weller said: “Military personnel are still being deployed to various parts of the world and to do this they need to be dentally fit or of minimal risk of dental problems. However, when the pandemic made routine dental inspections impossible, it became necessary to assess future morbidity risk via their computer records, radiographs and history.”



Tuesday 21 July


Scotland: Dentists awarded 2.8% pay increase

The Scottish Government has confirmed that it will accept the recommendation of the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) and award dentists in Scotland a 2.8% pay increase for 2020/21, backdated to April. This is slightly higher than last year's uplift which was 2.5%.  

The Scottish Government is still to confirm the GDP expenses element of the uplift but the overall award is likely to be 2.8%. The profession should expect a letter of confirmation to be issued soon.  

The BDA contributed UK-wide written evidence to DDRB in January, and David McColl (Chair, SDPC) represented BDA Scotland at the DDRB oral evidence session the following month.




Scotland: Clarity for dentists in mixed practices


The Scottish Government has advised that dentists in mixed NHS-private practices should follow the advice from the CDO about returning to work, as well as the guidance published by SDCEP. You can find the latest guidance from the CDO on the return to care in Scotland in this letter from the Chief Dental Officer and this memorandum.


The Government have acknowledge that some dentists in mixed practices wish to carry out AGPs on private patients, providing they have appropriate PPE and follow the relevant procedures. However, as dentists’ formal contractual arrangements are with their local NHS Boards, dentists in mixed practice are expected to discuss with their Boards what private care they can provide, and what preparations and risk management are required.


We have also adapted our toolkit for returning to work for members in Scotland. It is designed to complement the above guidance, download it for practical advice on various issues, including indemnity, employment relations, and staff terms and conditions.





NHS uplift and associates' pay


Both practice and associate incomes have fallen in recent years and the COVID-19 pandemic has put further strain on many. However, we encourage all dental practices to discuss with their associates their contractual arrangements following news of an NHS uplift.


Reflecting on what the uplift means for associates’ pay, Dave Cottam, Chair of the General Dental Practice Committee has said: “The DDRB recommendation and the uplift do not directly apply to associate pay in England and Wales. However, associates might reasonably look to the award for an indication of an expected uplift in their own income. Practice owners and associates are encouraged to discuss their contractual arrangements in light of the NHS uplift.”





Pay uplift for community and hospital dentists


Hospital and community dentists are to receive a 2.8% pay uplift, backdated to April. This is the second consecutive year of above-inflation pay awards for dentists, which must now be built on. And a final uplift to contract values for general dental practitioners will be confirmed following a consultation on expenses.


We have stressed that the viability of the service can only be maintained with parallel action on support for private practice, future NHS contract arrangements and long-term consistency on pay.


BDA Vice-Chair Eddie Crouch has said: “Before COVID-19 hit years of pay restraint had already taken their toll… We've secured needed progress on abatement and pay. We now need to see a concerted strategy to ensure the nation’s dental services – both NHS and private – have a future.”





Get clinical content straight to your inbox


Our clinical newsletter brings you the latest clinical content every month. The latest edition focuses on COVID-19 and dentistry, including:


  • An audit of paediatric dental emergencies and the pandemic
  • Research into domestic violence and urgent dental, oral and maxillofacial care
  • Guidelines on medical emergencies in the dental practice during COVID-19
  • Webinar on techniques for the placement of rubber dam.

Members can be the first to receive this content by ticking yes for the “Clinical newsletter.” Non-members can sign up to receive an abridged version at the end of the week.



Monday 20 July



Business interruption insurance: FCA test case hearings begin


Today is the first of eight days of court hearings before Lord Justice Flaux and Mr Justice Butcher on business interruption insurance. The FCA have taken this test case because, although the types of cover provided and wordings used mean it can be difficult to determine whether customers have cover and can make a valid claim, there are genuine doubts over the appropriate interpretation of the wording in some cases.


The result of this test case will be legally binding on the insurers involved and in respect of the interpretation of the representative sample of policy wordings considered by the court. It will also provide guidance for the interpretation of similar policy wordings and claims, which may influence other court cases including in Scotland and Northern Ireland, by the Financial Ombudsman Service and by the FCA in looking at whether insurers are handling claims fairly.


We were the first trade union or professional body to directly engage with the FCA following the failure of most polices to pay out for losses incurred during the pandemic. We pushed for clarity on whether challenges affecting dentists will be taken into account by the court. We've also instructed law firm Brown Rudnick LLP to examine insurance policies affecting dental practices. We invite members to watch their webinar on the legal issues involved and the options open to BDA members in light of the FCA test case.





It’s essential to avoid a deadly second wave


We are calling on the government to do more now to save lives and protect healthcare services in the UK.


Recent research has outlined the catastrophic impact a second wave could have and the mitigation measures that will help avoid it, including clearer public guidance and mandated mask wearing.


We stand with our medical colleagues in calling on government to use this time to do everything possible to keep the rate of infection down, to save lives and to ensure that a second full lockdown is not needed. We’re very concerned that dentistry, particularly private dentistry, simply will not survive a second lockdown unsupported.


Chair of BDA board, Mick Armstrong, has said: “Complacency on behalf of the government now will lead to more deaths and economic hardship. Many dentists are already in a very precarious financial position and we simply cannot afford to see a second national lockdown. If action is taken now, it will save lives and protect businesses this winter.”





BDIA launches directory of products and services


The British Dental Industry Association (BDIA) has launched a new online directory of members’ products and services. It has 13 categories of products and services, and provides information on suppliers of many essential items, including PPE.


BDIA Chief Executive, Edmund Proffitt has said: “With the concerns over counterfeit and non-compliant Personnel Protective Equipment… it is more important than ever that purchases are made from suppliers that dental professionals can trust.”





Northern Ireland: Grants made available for fit-testing


The Health and Social Care Board have secured £80,000 to support the fit testing of FFP2 or FFP3 masks (including reusable masks) for dental practice staff as part of the re-mobilisation of GDS in Northern Ireland.


We understand that the grant can be spent on a suitably competent person to perform the fit testing or training a member of staff to perform fit testing. It will be payable on submission of an application form accompanied by paid invoices or receipts for the testing or training carried out from 1 April 2020.


Practice Principals will receive a letter in the coming days, detailing how much you are entitled to claim, based on the proportion of historical Health Service commitment and on a capitation payment per patient.