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Updates from week commencing 4 January 2021

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

Friday 8 January 2021

17:15

 

COVID-19 vaccination: Update your CQC details

 

Yesterday NHS England confirmed that dental teams, along with other healthcare staff, are being prioritised for COVID-19 vaccinations.

 

The CDO for England shared information regarding how the vaccination programme will be rolled out for dental teams - NHS, mixed and private.

 

The CQC has now notified dental professionals to reiterate that they are working with NHS England to ensure that they have the right contact details for private practices who are not registered with the NHS.

 

If you are a private practice and your details are not up to date, it is essential that you let the CQC know by submitting a notification form.

 


 

14:01

 

Lateral flow tests must be ordered by 17 January 2021

 

If you have not yet completed your order for lateral flow tests for patient-facing staff via the online portal , you are advised to do so ASAP.

 

The information regarding orders was set out in direct communication by Primary Care Support England (PCSE), who are managing the ordering and delivery process.

 

Orders must be placed by Sunday 17 January to start to receive deliveries from the following week.

 

Each organisation should order one box for each patient-facing member of staff. For example, if there are 10 patient-facing members of staff delivering NHS services within an organisation, the order should be for only 10 boxes of test kits. One box contains 25 tests and it is enough for a member of staff to test for 12 weeks.

 


 

12:00

 

Survey: How is lockdown affecting your dental practice?

 

The new year lockdown that began on midnight of 4 January 2021 has created new challenges for every dental practice in England. We want to know how you are affected and what impact this lockdown is having on your practice.

 

We have already received widespread reports regarding patient cancellations, staff sickness and self-isolation. It is clear that government support is needed. In order to make the case for dentistry we are asking practice owners to tell us about the issues you are experiencing in our new two-minute survey.

 

Take the survey: The new national lockdown

 

We will continue to lobby to ask for more support – for both NHS and private practices – and Parliament is set to focus on these issues in a debate next week.

 

We’ve already written to Matt Hancock urging him to abandon the 45% NHS targets, that are simply unrealistic now we are back in lockdown. Thousands of our members have emailed their MPs to get them to speak out.

 

We need your views on these unrealistic NHS targets, on business rates, on problems you might be facing to get key worker status recognised, and the difficulties of getting vaccinated, so we can highlight the problems you are facing and call for workable solutions.

 


 

11:55

 

Racism in dentistry: measuring the scale of the problem

 

In order to combat the issues around racism in dentistry, we first need to understand the scale of the problem.

 

In a recent blog, Shareena Illyas, chair our new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee, explains why our new survey on racism is an essential step towards tackling racism and discrimination in dentistry.

 

“Our intention is to try and capture interpersonal racism from microaggressions right through to physical abuse, as well as those instances where biases in decision-making mean that people are treated unfairly because of their ethnicity, skin colour, accent or religion”.

 

 


 

10:44

 

Business interruption insurance: Guidance published

 

The Financial Conduct Authority has published draft guidance to support policyholders to prove the existence of COVID-19 in the area around their premises. This guidance on evidence types and methodologies may help you as you prepare your claim, and as we wait for the Supreme Court to pass final judgement on the issue. This judgement is expected this month; we will update you when we have more information.

 


 

09:21

 

Patient communications and COVID-19

 

Now we are in the third national lockdown, patients understandably have questions about dental practices being open.

 

We’ve updated our advice for patients page to help them understand the situation for our profession.

 

Members can download some communication assets to help your patients during this time:

 

We’re open and safe – blue
Download the Blue Social media template
We’re open and safe – green
Download the green social media template
We’re open and safe – grey  
Download the grey social media template
We’re open and safe – pink  
Download the pink social media template

 

Please feel free to direct your patients to: bda.org/patients

 


 

08:50

 

England: Key worker status and support needed

 

In a recent blog Eddie Crouch called on dentists to share your experiences of the new lockdown and help us make a compelling case to government.

 

"It’s déjà vu all over again as a national lockdown returns. Yes, dentistry remains open and safe, but colleagues now find themselves facing both familiar problems and new challenges, again without the necessary support from government."

 

"Frustrated dentists are already getting in touch with questions on key worker status, access to the vaccine, patient backlogs and concerns about trying to work within the constraints of unrealistic NHS targets."

 

 


 

Thursday 7 January 2021

16:27

 

Essential worker status for dentistry

 

We continue to receive mixed reports from across the UK about dentists and dental teams being recognised as essential or critical workers when it comes to ongoing access to education for their children or dependents.

 

We have produced a letter for members to share with their children's schools , confirming that dentists in England are key workers.

 


 

 

16:04

 

Wales: COVID-19 Primary Care Immunisation Service update 

 

On 18 December 2020, the Minister for Health and Social Services established the new Primary Care COVID-19 Immunisation Service (PCCIS). This is a national contracting mechanism for Health Boards to engage providers to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations from within Primary Care.

 

The PCCIS enables all primary care providers to engage for delivery of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine. This will expand to include further vaccines as they come on stream, if suitable for primary care delivery.

 

Additionally, Health Boards will continue to work with stakeholders to establish ways in which Primary Care can provide support directly to Mass Vaccination Centres.

 

Read the letter from Alex Slade, Deputy Director, Primary Care Division

 


 

15:40

 

Northern Ireland: Dentistry and the latest lockdown

 

Tristen Kelso, National Director of BDA Northern Ireland, gives us an update on some of the most urgent issues facing dentists as we re-enter lockdown.

 

"Barely a week into the new year and we’re in the midst of another six week lockdown. And while we don’t anticipate any further changes to how general dental practices are expected to operate, there will undoubtedly be cancelled appointments and an added intensity to the matters that need addressing."

 

This includes:

 

  • Securing access to early COVID-19 vaccinations
  • Supervised education for your children
  • Support for dentists in exceptional circumstance.

Read Tristen's blog: Northern Ireland: Dentistry and the latest lockdown

 


 

13:26

 

England: Priority vaccine access confirmed

 

NHS England have now confirmed that all dentists, teams and support staff – in both NHS and private settings – will receive priority access to the COVID vaccine.

 

In a message sent to all NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts, chief executives have been instructed to “work with CCGs and local systems to offer COVID-19 vaccination to all healthcare workers working in primary care as well as independent practitioners and independent providers including general practice (including locum staff), community pharmacy, dentistry, optometry and hospices.” 

 

This will be welcome news for all dentists and team members across England.

 

In terms of next steps:

 

  • High street NHS dentists and teams- sit tights and wait, you are on the list.
  • Dentists working in trusts – your HR will have matters in hand.
  • Private practices – you will be covered, but you must ensure your CQC accounts are up to date. This data will be passed to the vaccination programme for follow up.

As with all primary care providers, the message is do not contact your GP. You will be on the list and will be contacted to receive your priority access to the vaccine.

 


 

11:55

 

Pregnancy and COVID-19

 

We have received queries regarding the government's recent minor change in guidance on COVID-19 and pregnancy in the workplace. This guidance is written with non-clinical settings in mind, so does not appear to have an impact on dental practices.

 

If staff follow correct procedures and wear appropriate PPE, we understand that the dental environment is a safe one and that pregnant members of the dental team can continue to work safely, subject to risk assessments.

 

If you are pregnant and working in a dental practice, we advise you to wear a mask and follow infection control procedures at all times, no matter your gestation.  

 

Members can access our risk assessments:

 

 


 

11:37

 

Northern Ireland: How did the Executive perform in 2020?

 

Caroline Lappin looks at how the NI Executive performed in its first year back and asks what this means for dentistry:

 

"No one foresaw what 2020 would bring. When the NI Executive reformed on 11 January 2020, after three years in the political wilderness, Northern Ireland once again had a functioning Government. But after just two short months a global pandemic was declared, and COVID-19 came to define all our lives."

 

"Our briefs to Health Minister Swann and the Health Committee were clear and consistent. Help us stay open, help us to keep treating our patients, help us to stay in business. So how did our politicians respond?"




Wednesday 6 January 2021

15:35

 

Brexit: EU Settlement Scheme

 

The transition period is over, but if you are an EU national living and working in the UK you still have time to sign up for the EU settlement scheme. The EU settlement scheme is for EU/EEA nationals who began living in the UK before 31 December 2020. Any dentists or staff members who are EU/EEA nationals need to apply to the scheme before 30 June 2021, in order to remain in the UK without the need for future visa status.

 

This includes individuals who have previously applied for residency in the UK; their status will be converted to the new scheme, but they must apply. However, this does not apply if they have obtained British citizenship or are citizens of the Republic of Ireland, they are exempt. For more information on how Brexit is affecting dentists and dentistry see our Brexit page.

 


 

14:20

 

Prime Minister challenged on vaccine access for dentists

 

As part of our campaign for better support for dental practices during the pandemic hundreds of you have contacted your local MPs to raise your concerns. A full debate on this issue is due to take place in Parliament next week, but your efforts are already shining the spotlight on the challenges faced by dentists in these difficult times.

 

Having been contacted by some of our members, Craig Whittaker MP has challenged Boris Johnson on priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine for dentists and their teams during Prime Minister’s statement in the chamber earlier this afternoon. He echoed our calls for confirmation that dentists are in vaccination priority group 2 together with all other healthcare workers. The Prime Minister confirmed that all dentists in patient facing roles and members of their teams are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. We will continue to push for clear guidance and clarity on timings of the vaccination for all dental teams.

 


 

09:50

 

Essential worker status for dentistry

 

We continue to receive mixed reports from across the UK about dentists and dental teams being recognised as essential or critical workers when it comes to ongoing access to education for their children or dependents.

 

For England, the government guidance states that health and social care workers are covered by the definition of critical workers in this respect. As the guidance says ‘this includes, but is not limited to, doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff’. The CDO England has confirmed that this definition covers dentists and their teams, whether in NHS or private practice.

 

We have recently seen local NHS teams providing helpful letters for dentists and teams to use when seeking to access education.

 


 

09:40

 

Northern Ireland: Brexit and your dental practice

 

Many dentists in Northern Ireland will need to apply for an XI EORI number. If your practice does any low-level trade with GB, such as sending impressions to labs in Scotland, you need to:

 

 

Any dental practices in Northern Ireland that receives human tissues, cells or acellular bone products from suppliers in GB now require an import licence from the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) in order to continue. For more information see the Northern Ireland section of the HTA website or email them directly for advice: enquiries@hta.gov.uk.

 

Tristen Kelso tells you what dentists in NI need to know about Brexit, or see our Brexit page for an overview of the impacts on dentistry.

 


 

09:14

 

Webinar: Setting up a private dental practice during a pandemic

 

Book your place for our upcoming webinar on setting up a private dental practice during a pandemic. It will take place on Thursday 14 January from 19.30 - 20.30. Members can attend for free, non-members can attend for £50 and DCPs for £30.

 

This webinar will go through how to set up a private dental practice during a pandemic. The speakers will draw on their 20+ years of experience of setting up dental practices for their dental group and clients.

 


 

Tuesday 5 January 2021

18:05

 

England: COVID-19 vaccine rollout

 

Following last week’s authorisation of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine and updated guidance around increased spacing of second vaccine doses, we are beginning to see an acceleration in the vaccination programme across the UK. This has led to understandable questions around rollout for dentists and their teams.

 

As highlighted in previous updates, we have repeatedly sought reassurance about prioritisation for dentistry, from NHS England, the Office of the CDO and separately across the devolved nations. NHS England’s initial priority, in line with JCVI advice, is for those aged 80 and over, together with care home staff and residents. Frontline health and social care staff are included in the next priority group. NHS England has confirmed that dentists and their teams, both in the NHS and in the private sector, are included in that group of frontline staff and therefore sit in the JCVI’s priority group two.

 

We know that some dentists have been approaching their GPs to highlight their status as frontline staff. There are reports of variable responses from GP practices and others involved in vaccination programmes to these approaches from dentists and teams. We have continued to raise that concern with NHS England and understand that clarification will be forthcoming this week, confirming the position of dentists and teams to clinical commissioning groups and others organising vaccinations. Timeframes for vaccination of the primary care workforce will still inevitably to some extent depend on local operational arrangements, logistics and availability of vaccine stocks.

 

We will continue to raise this issue and keep you updated.

 


 

16:58

 

Brexit: What you need to know

 

A Brexit deal was reached in late December. However, some of information on preparedness which the UK Government produced in case of a no-deal scenario may still be relevant. The mitigation of the risks related to the changes from 2021 might still be necessary. We are working to provide clarity to members on this complex situation.

 

For the latest regarding Brexit and dentistry, see our Brexit webpage which covers:

 

  • the movement of dentists and dental care professionals
  • the import and export of dental equipment and materials
  • health and safety legislation
  • data protection regulations
  • research and development
  • Northern Ireland's unique position.

 


 

16:12

 

Brexit: Data sharing and protection

 

A Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) outlining areas for the future relationship between the UK and the EU was reached and ratified in late December 2020. Regarding data sharing and protection, we now know that data flow can continue for six months while the EU considers the UK’s adequacy in data protection arrangements for the future.

 

This has provided some breathing space for dental practices which receive personal data from contacts in the EU. However, the Government advises you to be prepared to take extra steps on data sharing and protection. The Information Commissioner’s Office provides a number of guidance documents on future data transfer which you should review.

 

For businesses that do not share data with others based in the EU, there is no action to be taken, according to the guidance.

 


 

15:54

 

Wales: COVID-19 Primary Care Immunisation Service update 

 

On 18 December 2020, the Minister for Health and Social Services established the new Primary Care COVID-19 Immunisation Service (PCCIS). This is a national contracting mechanism for Health Boards to engage providers to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations from within Primary Care.

 

The PCCIS enables all primary care providers to engage for delivery of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine. This will expand to include further vaccines as they come on stream, if suitable for primary care delivery.

 

Additionally, Health Boards will continue to work with stakeholders to establish ways in which Primary Care can provide support directly to Mass Vaccination Centres.

 

Read the letter from Alex Slade, Deputy Director, Primary Care Division

 


 

14:07

 

Scotland: Activity measurement delayed following latest lockdown

 

The Chief Dental Officer has written to dentists to confirm that the latest lockdown will not change the arrangements for dentistry that were announced late last year.

 

We had previously queried what effect the new restrictions would have on measuring activity levels and the tiered financial support.

 

Given the latest lockdown, and the potential impact on patient numbers and staff shortages, the Scottish Government has delayed the introduction of the new arrangements for three months in the first instance.

 

We welcome this reassuring development about activity measurement and tiered payments, and the continued financial support for dentists.

 


 

12:58

 

Northern Ireland: 2.8% CDS pay uplift confirmed

 

The Department of Health has issued a circular confirming a 2.8% pay uplift for CDS and salaried dentists for 2020/21 to be backdated to April 2020.

 

We met with Minister Swann in July, and we made the case strongly for more timely uplifts to be applied. Confirmation of this year’s pay uplift follows 5 months after the previous circular being issued for 2019/20.

 

The circular relates to CDS and salaried staff only. We continue to await confirmation of the 20/21 uplift to apply to GDS, and expect it early this year. We will update you when we have more information.

 


 

12:29

 

NHS England targets: Write to your MP

 

With a third England lockdown confirmed, the imposition of NHS activity targets is even harder to justify.

 

We are encouraging all GDPs to contact their MPs. The team has helped secure a debate in parliament on the support for practices on 14 January. So, if you have five minutes, write to your MP to make your case that NHS England must change tack, and encourage them to attend and speak up against these targets. You can find the email details of your MP here.

 

We are asking members to make three key points in their message:

 

  1. These targets are the wrong choice, at the wrong time. COVID rates are surging, and many patients will understandably be reluctant to attend. Equally, why are ministers encouraging potentially unsafe volumes of patients into practices?
  2. These targets are bad for practices and bad for patients. Set out the challenges you face meeting these targets given current restrictions, and the impact this will have on your practice. Explain how perverse targets will force dentists to focus on routine cases over a huge backlog of urgent cases that need priority.
  3. Ask your MP to attend the debate on 14 January to speak up for better support for practices, and ask them to write to Minister for Dentistry Jo Churchill insisting these targets are abandoned.

If you are sending a message, copy in campaigns@bda.org and the team can follow up your email with some detailed briefing.

 


 

11:59

 

Tackling racism in dentistry: Please complete our survey

 

We have launched our first survey on racism in dentistry, created in collaboration with the Faculty of General Dental Practice/College of General Dentistry.

 

Take the survey: Tackling racism and discrimination in dentistry 

 

The survey is open to all dentists and dental students across the UK and aims to collect experiences of racism, racial discrimination and racial inequalities within the profession.

 


 

Monday 4 January 2021

21:02

 

England lockdown: Dental practices to remain open

 

Following the PM's announcement this evening that a third lockdown in England will come into effect from midnight tonight, we have received confirmation from the Office of the CDO that dental services in England are to remain open.

 

The Government guidance on the national lockdown states: "The majority of public services will continue and you will be able to leave home to visit them. These include the NHS and medical services like GPs and dentists".

 

Services should be carried out in line with the current standard operating procedure (SOPs) . Remote consultation, triage and risk assessment remain key prior to patient attendance for face to face dental care. Social distancing measures remain in place and PPE levels as stated for low, medium and high risk assessed patients remain.

 

Furthermore, the CDO reinforced the fact that dental professionals are defined by the Government as critical workers.

 


 

20:33

 

Lockdown: Abandon targets or leave future of dental services at risk

 

Following this evening's announcement about a new lockdown in England starting at midnight, in an open letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, we have urged the government to abandon imposed NHS targets that will be impossible to achieve under the new national lockdown, and which risk putting hundreds of practices out of business.

 

The BDA believes that the latest government restrictions have a major impact on patients’ willingness to seek care, whilst the NHS targets will force dentists to prioritise routine check-ups for the ‘worried-well’ over a time-consuming urgent backlog. MPs are set to debate the imposition of these targets at a Backbench Business debate on 14 January.

 


 

18:50

 

Scotland: National lockdown - no impact on dentistry

 

Following the First Minister’s announcement this afternoon, we have received confirmation from the Chief Dental Officer that the national lockdown from 5 January will have no impact on dentistry.

 

We had argued that the full range of NHS treatments should not be available while the new virus strain continues to spread significantly. However, the Scottish Government’s position remains unchanged as:

 

  • Essential travel includes leaving home for healthcare
  • Dentistry is essential healthcare
  • Dentistry can therefore continue in Level 4 and the revised restrictions announced by the FM this afternoon
  • Aesthetic treatment is not essential healthcare (and not available on the NHS) and should not be undertaken

The CDO also reiterated that if a patient attends a dentist with a concern then the full range of clinical dental care should remain available to the dentist in order to manage the patient’s condition.

 


 

15:23

 

Get clinical content straight to your inbox

 

Our clinical newsletter brings you the latest clinical content every month.

 

In this month’s newsletter: learn how to manage medical emergencies in your dental practice.

 

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.

 


 

13:09

 

COVID-19 and Dental Contract Reform (DCR) prototypes

 

The pandemic has had a variable impact on the way DCR prototypes have been delivering their services and meeting the needs of the patients. We are currently taking part in discussions, led by DHSC, regarding the best way to deal with the capitation and activity elements of the DCR contract models for the final quarter of the 20/21 year.

 

DHSC organised engagement events for prototype practices over October and November to discuss some of the data which has been analysed from the first three years of prototyping, and to feed into the evaluation process. These virtual meetings were addressed by Minister Jo Churchill, who thanked the practices and staff for their work on contract reform and their response to the Coronavirus pandemic. We will update you when we have more information.

 


 

13:01

 

Counselling and emotional support

 

During this challenging time, we encourage dentists to look after their mental health and wellbeing as much as possible. Across the UK, there are different resources and services available to support you in dealing with these challenges.

 

BDA members also have access to counselling and emotional support for personal and professional problems that can affect your home life or work life, health and general wellbeing. You can access this helpline 24/7, 365 days a year. Your wellbeing matters, if you are feeling the effects of stress, we encourage you to reach out.

 


 

10:29

 

Tackling racism in dentistry: Please complete our survey

 

We have launched our first survey on racism in dentistry, created in collaboration with the Faculty of General Dental Practice/College of General Dentistry.

 

Take the survey: Tackling racism and discrimination in dentistry 

 

The survey is open to all dentists and dental students across the UK and aims to collect experiences of racism, racial discrimination and racial inequalities within the profession.

 


 

10:14

 

NHS England targets: Write to your MP

 

With the tier four restrictions, the imposition of NHS activity targets is even harder to justify.

 

We are encouraging all GDPs to contact their MPs. The team has helped secure a debate in parliament on the support for practices on 14 January. So, if you have five minutes, write to your MP to make your case that NHS England must change tack, and encourage them to attend and speak up against these targets. You can find the email details of your MP here.

 

We are asking members to make three key points in their message:

 

1. These targets are the wrong choice, at the wrong time. COVID rates are surging, and many patients will understandably be reluctant to attend. Equally, why are ministers encouraging potentially unsafe volumes of patients into practices?

 

2. These targets are bad for practices and bad for patients. Set out the challenges you face meeting these targets given current restrictions, and the impact this will have on your practice. Explain how perverse targets will force dentists to focus on routine cases over a huge backlog of urgent cases that need priority.

 

3. Ask your MP to attend the debate on 14 January to speak up for better support for practices, and ask them to write to Minister for Dentistry Jo Churchill insisting these targets are abandoned.

 

If you are sending a message copy in campaigns@bda.org and the team can follow up your email with some detailed briefing.

 


 

09:24

 

NHS dentists: Poster for your practice

 

This updated A4 two-sided poster is available to print, download and share with patients about their NHS dental service. It includes information on access during the pandemic, what treatments are available, costs and emergency care details.

 


 

Thursday 31 December 2020

10:30

 

COVID vaccine rollout

 

Yesterday’s announcement that the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine has been authorised by the MHRA was accompanied by updated guidance from the JCVI and the UK chief medical officers around increased spacing of second vaccine doses. The combined effect of the two decisions is that we are now anticipating a substantial acceleration in vaccination.

 

This has led to understandable questions around rollout for dentists and their teams.

 

As reported in previous updates, we have repeatedly sought reassurance about prioritisation for dentistry, with NHS England, the Office of the CDO and separately across the devolved nations. NHS England has confirmed initial priority for those aged 80 and over, together with care home staff and residents. Frontline health and social care staff are included in the next priority group. We have been told consistently that dentists and their teams, both in the NHS and in the private sector, are included in that group.

 

NHS England has confirmed the approach outlined in the provisional guidance on vaccination, the Green Book which specifically includes dentistry and those in independent practice under the definition of healthcare staff.

 

Now that we anticipate accelerated rollout for frontline health and social care staff, we have again sought clarification around what that means for dentistry and how and when dental teams will be included in the vaccination programme. We will continue to raise the position of dentistry and will of course keep you updated.