Friday 3 July 2020
Here's my weekly roundup of the major things that happened this week in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and UK dentistry. I hope you find it useful.
Making your voice heard: In the news
We're speaking to national and local media daily to represent you and your interests. Here's some of the coverage we've received in the past two days:
BBC's Newsnight: Last night's edition of
Newsnight highlighted the problems dentists and patients are facing even with the resumption of dental care in England. The report highlighted the issues in West Yorkshire, where provision, even before coronavirus, wasn't meeting demand.
BBC News Northern Ireland: Dentists in Northern Ireland will
receive more than three million items of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the coming weeks following a meeting between BDA reps and Health Minister Robin Swan.
BBC Radio Devon: This morning's edition of the Breakfast programme announced that the University of Plymouth is carrying out research into the experience of dentists who provided urgent dental care during the pandemic. The news item also stated that the research is being supported by the BDA.
Scotland toolkit for returning to face-to-face care
returning to face-to-face care toolkits support dentists to reopen as safely and efficiently as possible.
We have adapted our toolkit for members in Scotland. It is designed to complement the SDCEP guidance, and contains additional practical advice on various issues, including indemnity, employment relations, and staff terms and conditions.
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Northern Ireland: Bringing dentistry to the fore
Dentistry in Northern Ireland is finally getting the platform it deserves. In his blog, published yesterday, NI Director, Tristen Kelso reflects on
the recognition of dentistry as an integral part of health and social care.
Wales: Our evidence to the Senedd Health Committee
Yesterday our chair of the WGDPC, Tom Bysouth and colleagues, presented evidence to the Welsh Senedd Health Committee regarding the state of dentistry in Wales during the pandemic.
You can watch our presentation here (view from 1 hr 45 mins).
We told the committee that while high street dentists want to see their patients, many practices will not survive the combination of higher costs and lower patient numbers without financial support. We also made a strong case for private dentistry which has been left to fend for itself and is now already facing redundancies, especially as furlough unwinds.
Meanwhile, despite continued NHS funding, and the very welcome suspension of activity targets, mixed-contract and NHS providers are still operating at a loss. This is not a sustainable financial situation. Dentistry in Wales requires urgent support if it is to remain viable.
As we set out to the Senedd Health Committee,
here are 10 things that we believe must change across dentistry in Wales if we are to save this service.
Watch dentistry on BBC Newsnight
If you missed the case for dentistry on BBC Newsnight last night you can
watch it on the BBC iplayer (starts at 37 mins).
The piece covers the issue of fallow time and the reduced capacity for practices.
Our Vice Chair, Eddie Crouch, spoke out about the limitations placed on dental provision and subsequent repercussions for the sector.
Thursday 2 July 2020
Updates from across the UK
We have updates from around the country on the cases we're making to government and how we're fighting to make the transition back to patient care easier for all practices:
England: Dentistry is worth over £8 billion a year to the UK economy - so why has it been neglected? Our Chair Mick Armstrong outlines the gaps in Treasury support.
Northern Ireland: Dentistry in Northern Ireland is finally getting the platform it deserves. NI Director, Tristen Kelso reflects on the recognition of dentistry as an integral part of health and social care.
Scotland: At BDA Scotland we are tirelessly working to help members transition back into patient care. Scotland Director Dr Philip Grigor outlines three things we are fighting for right now.
Wales: Tom Bysouth clarifies how the proposed NHS dental recovery plan will work in Wales.
Scotland: Pressing for additional financial support for dental practices
We met with the Chief Dental Officer (CDO) and Scottish Government officials this afternoon to discuss the move to Phase 3 of the return to practice which is due to begin from 13 July.
During this meeting, we highlighted the increased costs associated with reopening practices and providing an enhanced range of care, and pressed the government to secure additional financial support to meet these expenses. We once again raised concerns about the revised Statement of Dental Remuneration, the need for clear guidance around the use of AGPs, the provision of appropriate PPE, and the importance of risk assessments for dental teams and their patients. And we urged the Scottish Government to communicate more frequently and effectively with the profession to allay dentists' concerns about the return to practice.
The Scottish Government will issue a letter soon that will seek to clarify various issues around the move to Phase 3. We will meet with the CDO and Scottish Government again next week and continue to update you on progress made.
PPE and fit-testing: what you need to know
Dentists continue to face two important challenges in terms of PPE and COVID-19. The first is sourcing the right equipment. The second is getting it correctly fitted.
In his blog, Tarik Shembesh, a dentist who is leading the fit-testing program in London's urgent dental centres, shares
10 things you need to know about fit-testing PPE and the dental practice.
Northern Ireland: PPE secured and financial support discussed
Our intensive efforts to highlight the concerns of general practitioners over the past weeks, culminated in a
meeting with Health Minister Robin Swann yesterday.
Progress was made on key issues such as: PPE, continued financial support for practitioners after August, and ensuring dentists and dentistry is adequately valued by Department of Health (DoH) in the rebuilding of HSC services.
On PPE, a large consignment of Level 1 PPE - Type IIr masks, visors, gloves and aprons - has been signed off for GDPs. This amounts to almost 3 million items. The Business Services Organisation will begin deliveries to dental practices over the next 10-14 days, in proportion to a practice's Health Service commitment.
Richard Graham, Chair of the Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee, said:
"On the remuneration model and financial support, we stressed the need for finding an agreed way forward. The Minister was amenable, and we will be following up by pressing for a group to be established to take this crucial work forward, alongside DoH and Health and Social Care Board."
This announcement represents another important step forward on the road to recovery. It's also an example of
dentistry being recognised as an important part of health and social care in Northern Ireland. However, there's a lot more to do and we will continue to work hard on your behalf.
Wednesday 1 July 2020
Virtual wellbeing support for members
While restrictions are being gradually eased, they are not the same in every region. To compliment your access to counselling and emotional support you may need further support such as mental health first aid training, or support after a critical incident.
Health Assured's extensive range of additional services are available to members during the pandemic. Expert advisors and trained clinical staff can deliver virtual support - just as effectively and compassionately as in-person. Mental health first aid training, wellbeing workshops and critical incident stress management are included.
Scotland: Parliamentary questions on dentistry
We're disappointed that the reply from Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, to
the recent parliamentary question on private dentistry from Miles Briggs MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health & Sport, shows little sign of government willingness to extend support to private practices in Scotland. This is unfair and untenable; we will continue to campaign on your behalf.
As part of our continuing campaign for dentists and dentistry in Scotland, we're also pushing for clarity on: key worker status and the ongoing impact of the crisis on practices and patients. We're pleased to see Miles Briggs and others engage with these key issues. We're stronger together and will keep you updated.
Supporting you with risk assessments
risk assessment course is designed to give you the confidence and tools you need to decide appropriate safety measures for your practice (1 hour CPD).
It will teach you how to:
- Evaluate risks in your practice using the 5-step Risk Assessment process
- Apply the Hierarchy of Control method for making risk control decisions
- Examine risk and control measures in the context of common issues facing practices at the moment
- Construct a justifiable, documented risk assessment for your working circumstances, based on your professional judgement.
This short but comprehensive course is only available to BDA members. It's the latest addition to our
package of member resources on re-opening and risk assessment.
Not a member?
England: Download the latest version of our toolkit
Our returning to face-to-face care toolkits support dentists to reopen as safely and efficiently as possible.
latest version of our toolkit for England launches this morning.
Download it for essential updates on:
- Ventilation and air conditioning
- Antibody testing
- Information on NHS sick pay for associates considered 'extremely vulnerable'
- A letter template for staff whose time is split between part-time work and furlough.
Advice for patients: Photographing children's teeth
While dental practices continue to operate a 'telephone first' approach, many parents have been encouraged to send in photographs of their children's teeth to communicate the issues they are experiencing. To support your patients to do this well, a group of dentists have put together this helpful
video on how to photograph children's teeth.
Tuesday 30 June 2020
Scotland: Public Dental Service funding is essential
written to the Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing to seek assurance that the 2020-21 Public Dental Service (PDS) budget will at least match the 2019-20 funding to ensure the PDS has sufficient capacity to meet patient demand.
The PDS did an excellent job to set up Urgent Dental Centres (UDCs) in their local areas at short notice following the cessation of routine dentistry once the country went into lockdown.
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.
We have 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. We continue to campaign, because continued reductions in PDS capacity and the departure of experienced staff will jeopardise the long-term viability of the service, and impact negatively on patient care.
BDJ: Research and opinion on COVID-19 and dentistry
The latest issue of the BDJ contains new research and opinion on the topic of COVID-19 and dentistry. This includes pieces on:
- The impact of COVID-19 on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) members of the dental profession
- Domestic violence, COVID-19 and urgent dental, oral and maxillofacial care (open access)
- A comparison of the British and South Korean primary dental care response to COVID-19.
BDJ's collection of Coronavirus content to read these articles and to look back at the COVID-19 content they've produced.
Scotland: Making your voice heard on the future of the NHS
Phil Grigor, Director of BDA Scotland, attended the first meeting of the Scottish Government's NHS Mobilisation Recovery Group yesterday to make sure your voice is heard.
This was the first discussion of the Re-mobilise, Recover, Re-design framework for NHS Scotland, published on 31 May. The meeting was chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, and over 50 people attended including the Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing and the Chief Dental Officer.
There was much discussion of the principles and objectives of the framework, the links between primary and secondary care, as well as social care and wider issues such as housing. Clinical priorities include mental health and cancer. We were pleased to see that there were calls to build on recent progress during the pandemic in breaking down barriers, the need for innovation and the danger of returning to old ways of siloed working.
Little in this first meeting was directly relevant to dentistry. However, it is essential that dentistry does not get overlooked in these discussions. That's why, we took the opportunity to make the case for an integrated IT system across the NHS and social care system, echoing our recent call on this issue. The group will meet again in mid-July and we will continue to make sure oral health and dentists' concerns are heard here.
We also continue to have separate discussions with the CDO and Scottish Government about the future of dentistry.
Wales: UDAS and plans for NHS dentistry
There has been a lot of anxiety across dentistry in Wales over what the Welsh Government's suggested variation to individual NHS contracts will mean in practice. We've been working hard to clarify the situation.
Last week we met with the Chief Dental Officer (CDO) to clarify their proposals. Today, Tom Bysouth provides
a much needed overview and answers many of the questions you've sent in, including:
- What is the Welsh Government's offer?
- What is UDAS?
- Is ACORN the new target?
- Can I stay with the UDA model?
Good practice scheme: Assessment toolkit expanded
We recently launched our Good Practice's online assessment tool for returning to face-to-face care and 20% of registered Good Practice members have already signed up.
The course includes vital CPD for the whole team on PPE and works alongside the BDA
return to face-to-face care toolkits.
It is now available to our member practices in
Northern Ireland and
Scotland. We hope to expand the assessment to include our practices in Wales soon.
If you're a Good Practice member, don't miss out on this resource. Log-in to our CPD hub and access the online assessment tool using your enrolment key. Good Practice members that have not received this key should contact us via
Monday 29 June 2020
Upcoming webinar: Predictable placement of rubber dam
In partnership with Health Education England, this Thursday (2 July 2020), we invite you to register for an hour-long
webinar covering quick, easy and predictable techniques for the placement of rubber dam.
The session includes video demonstrations and offers an opportunity to ask questions.
- Familiarise participants with quick and easy techniques for the placement of rubber dam
- Know the criteria for equipment selection
- Develop a predictable methodology to isolate the operation ﬁeld, even in diﬃcult situations
- Have an appreciation of alternative methods for isolation
- Understand the role of the dental nurse in the quick delivery and placement of rubber dam
- Be able to isolate a single tooth as well as quadrants with rubber dam in a consistent and efficient manner for various clinical situations.
New Evidence-Based Dentistry special COVID-19 edition is now live
Evidence-Based Dentistry COVID-19 special edition has been published and is now live.
This issue sets out to analyse the best evidence about Covid-19 and its effects on dental patients and practice. It includes the steps we need to take to mitigate risk, provide dental care and keep ourselves, our staff and our patients, safe.
Editor, Professor Liz Kay writes in her editorial "It has to be said that none of the evidence available is very strong or of high quality, but, since evidence-based practice is about combining the best available evidence, with clinical judgement and patient preferences, I just hope that the content of this issue may be useful as we start to prepare for our journey towards recovery."
EBD is published and sent to members four times each year.
England: Share your experiences of UDCs
The University of Plymouth are conducting research into dentists' experiences of providing care at Urgent Dental Centres during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are looking for dental healthcare professionals (dentists and dental nurses) that are or were involved in care delivery at UDCs across England. Those
interested in taking part will need to spare 30-45 minutes of your time for an online questionnaire or phone call interview.
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If you'd like to be kept informed about developments including COVID-19, make sure your details are up-to-date on your
MyBDA record and tick the box under 'contact preferences' to get latest news updates.
Not a member? Sign up to
our News and Campaigns list for all the latest updates.