Friday 31 July
England: Local authority watchlist published
Each week Public Health England publishes a report of the COVID-19 pandemic by local authority. This week's shows the areas that are most affected by COVID-19 right now. The following have been labelled intervention areas and additional social distancing measures have been put in place there:
- Blackburn with Darwen
- Hyndburn (Lancashire)
- Pendle (Lancashire)
- Burnley (Lancashire)
We believe that dental practices in these areas should continue with the services they are currently providing. If you are an NHS contract holder, please speak to your Local Area Team for advice on how to proceed.
We are expecting a new Standard Operating Procedure to be produced soon by NHS England to support sites affected and we are chasing this up.
Wales: Pay uplift of 2.3% confirmed
The Chief Dental Officer, Wales, Colette Bridgman has
confirmed a pay uplift of 2.3% for 2020-21 to gross contract values for GDS contracts and personal dental services agreements.
This will be backdated to 1 April 2020 and comes after a long period of engagement by the BDA. As part of this announcement, the CDO also said that she expects "the benefits of the uplift to be passed on to all members of practice dental teams."
Thursday 30 July
Scotland: Practices can restart AGPs from 17 August
Following the First Minister's announcement to the Scottish Parliament earlier today, the CDO has issued a letter stating that, from 17 August,
practices can offer a limited range of aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs) for NHS patients requiring urgent care. The CDO is making arrangements with NHS National Services Scotland and NHS Boards to ensure there are sufficient quantities of enhanced PPE for practices to provide urgent AGPs.
We had urged caution around the lack of guidance and highlighted the financial implications of reintroducing AGPs from 17 August, but the Scottish Government chose to proceed with the intended date. This afternoon we raised concerns with the CDO about the funding model and other issues, and the Scottish Dental Practice Committee will have the opportunity to question the CDO about the phased return to practice at its meeting next Wednesday.
Northern Ireland: RQIA inspections re-start at 'worst possible time'
We have urged a re-think of the plan to reintroduce RQIA inspections of dental practices, at a time while the profession is in crisis.
This week, RQIA wrote to all GDPs advising that they will be resuming their inspection programme of dental practices from the week commencing 24 August. This follows on from a directive issued by the Chief Medical Officer on behalf of the Department of Health mandating RQIA to resume their statutory inspection programme.
written to the Chief Medical Officer to request that dentistry is exempted from a resumption of physical checks. Dentistry is regarded as low-risk with almost universal compliance, and far more tightly regulated than in neighbouring jurisdictions. Extra disruption caused by an RQIA inspection is the very last thing practitioners need in the current circumstances.
We have also urged the CMO to make the case for the additional support needed to support dental practices get through this pandemic, and not impose additional burden. In the absence of dentistry being represented on the Management Board, we have urged Michael McBride to make the necessary representations as dentistry fights for its very survival.
Wednesday 29 July
Northern Ireland: Progress in campaign for private practise
Last week, we issued a stark warning to the Department of Health that urgent action is needed to safeguard dentistry and dental practices of all NHS/Private blends in Northern Ireland.
We were therefore pleased to see the plight of dental practices, particularly private dentistry, received a significant mention in the Northern Ireland Assembly this week. Speaking to the Assembly, the Health Minister said:
"I have written to the Minister for the Economy to see whether there is some sort of support mechanism that she could bring forward to the private side of our dental profession. Where we can support and fund the national health side, there is also that private side of many BDA businesses that need additional support. That engagement has commenced. The BDA wrote to the First Minister and the deputy First Minister and the Executive last week, and that is the step that I took in response to that letter."
Recognition of the mixed NHS/Private business model of dental practices is welcome; but we have urged the Executive to step forward with a funding package that is essential to keep practices of all shades afloat. How they respond will have a profound impact on practice viability, and on future provision of NHS dentistry. We will keep you updated.
Webinars on key COVID-19 topics
We’ve held a number of webinars to support members during this difficult time. Don’t miss out, login to watch the recordings today.
On PPE, respirators and fit testing:
Respirators in dentistry: practical guidance and face fit testing
PPE and RPE: Preparing for a safe return to practice
Stress and coping strategies:
Understanding your well-being in a COVID-19 world
Business interruption insurance:
The legal issues relating to business interruption policies and the pandemic.
CDS conference postponed
This year’s Community Dental Services conference and AGM has been postponed until 2021, but our work hasn’t stopped.
The next conference will be hosted by President Elect, Josie Lemon, on Thursday 30 September - Friday 1 October 2021. Topics are expected to include: autism, learning disabilities, epilepsy and mental health.
In the meantime, if you work in the CDS and are interested in joining our CDS Group Management Committee, please do get in touch:
Stress: Is there a burgeoning mental health crisis?
It may be a long time before we see the real mental health impacts of this pandemic. But since the end of lockdown, there’s been a rise in the requests for mental health support to the Dentists’ Health Support Programme (DHSP).
Rory O’Connor, Coordinator of the DHSP, has reflected on the mental health challenges facing dentists during this new normal. He writes on the need to exercise empathy and maintain your professionalism during this crisis, explains what warning signs you should look out for and why they're forecasting an increase in requests for support this winter.
COVID-19's impact on BAME healthcare workers
We are pleased to see the General Dental Council included in the stakeholder group for a recent study of the impact of COVID-19 on BAME healthcare workers in the UK.
The study seeks to calculate the risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19 for ethnic minority healthcare workers. The research is led by Dr Manish Pareek, University of Leicester and Leicester Royal Infirmary and will include non-clinical staff integral to the running of healthcare institutions, such as cleaners, kitchen staff and porters.
A stakeholder group of major national organisations including the General Medical Council, the Nurse and Midwifery Council, General Dental Council, NHS Employers and BAME Professionals’ Associations to help conduct the research and provide evidence to policymakers.
Find out more about
research being carried out on COVID-19’s impact on BAME communities.
Tuesday 28 July
Scotland: No cut in Public Dental Service budget for 2020-21
our letter to the Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing in June to seek assurance that the 2020-21 Public Dental Service (PDS) budget would at least match the 2019-20 funding, we have received confirmation that the 2020-21 budget will be maintained.
In our letter, we highlighted the excellent job the PDS had done to set up Urgent Dental Centres (UDCs) in their local areas at short notice following the cessation of routine dentistry in March.
We had previously
expressed concerns about the future of the PDS in Scotland and ongoing funding cuts. There was a 14% reduction in funding (cash terms) between 2014/15 and 2018/19, and a 15% drop in the number of PDS posts during this period.
The current crisis has shown how essential the PDS is, not just in an emergency, but also in its usual role of treating the most vulnerable in society. The PDS will be more needed than ever to treat the massive backlog of dental problems that have accumulated once the pandemic subsides.
England: Dentists and staff returning from abroad
The government has said that people returning to England from abroad should self-isolate for two weeks.
There are exceptions.
BDA advice is to take the following steps.
- Check whether the member of staff is returning from a
country which does not require quarantine.
- Is the employee GDC registrant? If they are, they do not need to self-isolate. They will need to complete a
Public Health Passenger Locator Form before they return to the UK.
- Non-GDC registrants, receptionists, managers, will need to self-isolate for 14 days.
- SSP is not payable for staff self-isolating after returning from holiday.
- Subject to being eligible under the job retention scheme, practices may be able to furlough staff who are self-isolating after returning to the UK. If it is possible under the rules of the scheme, both employer and employee would need to agree.
- If the furloughed workers scheme cannot be used, then staff who have to isolate should either be on paid holiday (if the member of staff has paid holiday to take) or unpaid leave. Whether it is paid or unpaid leave should be subject to agreement between the parties.
Monday 27 July
Latest research on COVID-19 and dentistry
You can read all latest comment and research on COVID-19 and dentistry in the
British Dental Journal’s Coronavirus collection. Newly added articles include perspectives and research on:
- Safe use of paracetamol and high-dose NSAID analgesia in dentistry during the COVID-19
- FFP3 respirator face fit testing
- COVID-19 and the implications for dental radiography
- Psychosocial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on staff in a dental teaching hospital.
Resources for medical emergencies in the dental practice
Members will find two posters in this week’s edition of the BDJ:
Medical emergencies in the dental practice
The posters provide practices with a quick reference and support author Phil Jevon’s article
Medical emergencies in the dental practice poster in this issue of the BDJ (Volume 229 issue 2). Phil Jevon works in the Walsall Teaching Academy, Manor Hospital in Walsall, West Midlands.