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Updates from week commencing 21 March 2022

Read all the updates that took place throughout this week.

Friday 25 March 2022


Northern Ireland: Confirmation of move away from annual RQIA inspections 

We have received confirmation from the Department of Health that regulations have been made to move to a new statutory minimum period of once in every two years for RQIA inspections of dental practices. This will come into operation from 1 May 22

NIDPC has campaigned for a move away from annual RQIA inspections for many years. A commitment was given by Minister Swann in October to introduce the required legislation in this mandate. That legislation has now been passed in the final days of the Assembly mandate. 


Library: eBooks to support your wellbeing 

Our online library offers a wide range of eBook titles, including wellness books that can help you take care of your mental and physical health. Read:

If you are experiencing stress at work, we also encourage you to make use of the UK-wide resources available to help you manage stress. Whether you want advice, counselling or simply a listening ear, there are many services available to support your mental health and wellbeing.

Thursday 24 March 2022



New public sector pension remedy


A new remedy has been announced to resolve age discrimination issues within public sector pension schemes. Significant changes will be made in 2022, and if you are affected, you will be able to choose if the changes will apply to your pension at the point of retirement.


If you have already retired and the changes apply to you, your pension scheme should get in touch with you to discuss your options in more detail. If you have questions or are unsure what to do, we've prepared advice for you . Our pensions team are also happy to discuss your choices. Although they cannot tell you what decision to make, they can provide information and talk things through with you.





British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show 2022


The British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show  (BDCDS) returns on 13 - 14 May 2022 at NEC, Birmingham. 


With 200+ world-class speakers, 400+ industry leading exhibitors, and 250 hours of enhanced CPD, there's something for the whole dental team. 


Secure a free pass for yourself and your colleagues now.



Wednesday 23 March 2022



Chancellor issues Spring Statement


In his Spring Statement today, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced an increase in Employment Allowance from £4,000 to £5,000 a year, in an attempt to help small and medium sized businesses increasingly struggling with rising costs and the impact of the pandemic.


This means eligible employers will be able to reduce their National Insurance bills, with practices able to employ four full-time employees on the National Living Wage without paying any employer NICs. He also confirmed business rates will be frozen in 2022-23.


Amongst widespread concerns about the impact of the new Health and Social Care Levy – which comes into force on 1 April – and the cost of living crisis, the Government has also announced an increase in the threshold above which National Insurance must be paid. From July onwards, this will be aligned with the income tax personal allowance of £12,570, up from £9,880.




Northern Ireland: Add your voice to help reform and rebuild dentistry

Last week, we launched our manifesto for Rebuilding and Reforming Dentistry which has generated a number of party press releases committing to take our issues forward in the next mandate.

However, following a tough two years in dentistry we were deeply disappointed by the announcement of the new Rebuilding Support Scheme, which represents a downgraded offer from the 35% increase that was previously put forward.

Our manifesto makes clear that the work of dental professionals must be valued, and investment must be made in delivering better oral healthcare for all. 

Please join us, and make your voice heard by finding your MLAs email addresses and sending a copy of our manifesto to them. Together we are stronger.


England: New National Standards of Healthcare Cleanliness

Practices will be aware of the new National Standards of Healthcare Cleanliness and many may have been contacted by companies offering a service to become compliant with these rules.

The guidance is over-complicated and the CQC says that it already inspects on these issues, so we think this is an unnecessary additional layer.

The complex system requires actually doing the cleaning (which the majority of practices do already), auditing to ensure that the cleaning is done and then reporting that result internally. This requirement only serves to place additional administrative obligations on NHS practices, when they have to deal with a huge number of other burdens.

Our advice team has looked at the publication and has tried to decipher what it means in practise and, as a result, we are developing an expanded cleaning schedule to include any additional points not in the original BDA offering and have devised an audit spreadsheet. Once complete, it will be available to Expert members.


BDJ: How does menopause affect the dental workforce?


The British Dental Journal shines a light on significant failings in care for women experiencing the menopause in the workplace. Within dentistry, not only are 76.9% of the dental team women, but 35% of dental care professionals (DCPs) and 43% of dentists are currently within the age range that can be affected by menopause – a large proportion of the dental workforce.


Our survey found a strong pattern of highly experienced women leaving general practice partnerships, ending their positions as clinical leaders and directors, and leaving medicine early because they were struggling to cope with menopause symptoms with no support from management or peers. 


The BDJ article covers how we can support members of the dental team going through the menopause, including reasonable adjustments to the workplace environment and creating an open and transparent space for discussions. 

Tuesday 22 March 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 & 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.


England: NHS contracts from 1 April

As we come towards the start of a new financial year without clarity about the contractual arrangements that will apply to NHS dentistry in England from 1 April, we have repeatedly impressed on NHS England the need for practices to have as much notice as possible. However, it looks as if we will see another late announcement. 

When NHS England set out the terms that would apply in the current quarter four 2021/22, they indicated that ‘practices should plan on the basis that NHS income protection will come to an end in April 2022 and we will revert to usual contract management arrangements’. However, we know that covid is still having a significant impact in terms of staff absence and patient cancellations. Practices continue to struggle to achieve even the current 85% threshold and we therefore continued to argue that it is not appropriate to expect 100% delivery from 1 April.  

As well as an announcement about UDA delivery from 1 April, the profession has also been anticipating some news about wider NHS contract reform. As Shawn Charlwood indicated in his blog earlier this month, any contractual changes are likely to come in two stages. Firstly, potentially smaller marginal changes from April, and then more significant longer-term reform from 2023. NHS England have signalled their intention to announce those initial changes by the end of this month.

So, look out for two announcements in the coming weeks. Firstly, about the approach to UDAs from 1 April, and then a separate announcement about any wider changes to the contractual framework to apply in 2022/23.

We will keep you updated and advise on the implications for members as soon as we are able. 

Monday 21 March 2022


Scotland and Northern Ireland: Managing locum cover

We have been looking at the different ways you can manage locum cover when associates need to take time away from the practice. Absences can happen for a range of reasons, and it benefits both associates and practice owners to work together in planning for these scenarios.

Often, associates will find and engage a locum to cover their work in their absence, but this isn't always an option depending on the circumstances. We can support you to discuss, engage and find the best solution whether finding a locum, providing cover through existing dentists in the practice, or looking for a different solution. If you're not in Scotland or Northern Ireland, see this advice on locums instead.


Send us your nominations for the BDA Honours and Awards 2022

Our Honours and Awards acknowledge the unsung heroes of dentistry and celebrate dentists who uphold and improve standards in the profession.

If you know a dentist who consistently goes the extra mile, is active in furthering the profession and offers exceptional service, nominations are now open for our Honours and Awards. The categories include:

  • Roll of Distinction, honouring outstanding services to UK dentistry
  • Certificate of Merit for Services to the Association, to recognise special service at any level of dentistry within the UK
  • Certificate of Merit for Services to the Dental Profession, to recognise special service at any level of dentistry either nationally or internationally
  • Joy Harrild Award for Young Dentists, to recognise young dentists who have made a significant contribution to the profession.
Download and complete our nomination form before the deadline on 27 May 2022.


Advice: Moving to private practice

We have launched a new private practice advice page to support members who are weighing up a move into, or an expansion of their, private practice. 

Bringing all this advice together for the first time, this page will prove a useful resource to anyone in or considering private practice, whether in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. 

Included is an outline of the possible financial implications of stepping away from NHS/HS dentistry, and advice on business structures, practice diversification, complaints management and pensions.