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 5 October 2020

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

Friday 9 October 2020



Supporting your mental health and wellbeing


Studies show high levels of stress and burnout amongst UK dentists, with GDPs showing some of the highest levels of stress. Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day and so we’d like to flag some of the information and resources available to support you.


Three things you can do for your mental wellbeing: Former BDA president Roz McMullan worked to support the mental wellbeing of frontline staff during the crisis. Here she reflects on the level of stress dentists are under and looks at three strategies for mitigating it.


The mental health crisis in dentistry: what needs to happen: Former BDA Chair, Mick Armstrong sets out the case for action on preventative measures to ensure dentists’ wellbeing is safeguarded during and after the pandemic. 


A guide to imposter syndrome: Do you have imposter syndrome? Leah Kanda, a dental student at King's College London, tells us about imposter syndrome and how to tackle it.


The long-term impact of pandemics on healthcare workers: Research Analyst Victoria Collin discusses the psychological impact of pandemics on healthcare workers and why it is essential that we prepare for long-lasting consequences.


BDA members can also receive counselling and emotional support through our Health Assured programme. Calling this confidential helpline can help you deal with personal and professional problems that could be affecting your home or work life, health and general wellbeing. It’s open to all members 24/7, 365 days a year.





BDJ Student: Mental health collection


BDJ Student have compiled a new collection of excellent articles related to mental health in aid of World Mental Health Day tomorrow.


The BDJ Student collection comprises a variety of perspectives on mental health and stress from young dentists and dental students, examining their effects across the profession.





Sikh dentists and PPE – are PAPR hoods the solution?


Dental Surgeon Dr Gurps Singh gives an insight into the conflict Sikh dentists face in continuing to wear turbans and beards while also complying with PPE guidance.


“I never thought my beard and turban would interfere with my profession as a dental surgeon. The concept of selfless service and equality in humankind is central to my faith and has only ever enhanced my profession. Yet when the pandemic hit and routine care ceased I, like many Sikhs, was faced with a situation I could never have anticipated. My faith was in conflict with my profession.”





Wales: Update on a potential data issue


Last week we flagged a potential issue regarding data submitted by practices via the FDS e-referral system. Several practices claimed that the data they had inputted were not all showing up within the system when accessed by their Health Board. There is a difficulty that practices cannot see their data in the FDS system once it is uploaded.


So far, the problem appears to be limited to one Health Board. This under-reporting of activity is also causing a misconception that those practices are ordering too much PPE for their NHS patient appointments.


We contacted NWIS who have confirmed that they conducted tests of the software and cannot find any problems with three Health Boards' reporting systems, including the one Health Board we understand is affected.


Given that the data incongruences cannot be traced, we reiterate our advice: all practices in Wales should check with their primary care contract managers that the data being entered into the FDS system is being reflected in the data being seen by their respective Health Boards.



Thursday 8 October 2020



Last chance to complete the GDC's COVID-19 survey


The GDC's survey on the impact of COVID-19 closes tomorrow.


Over the past couple of weeks, registrants should have received an email inviting a response to a survey on the impact of the pandemic. If you haven't completed the survey yet, you can still do so.


Take the GDC's COVID-19 survey




Northern Ireland: Making the case for dentistry


We've once again made your case to the Northern Ireland Assembly Health Committee, outlining how and why dentistry needs serious commitment from Government in our written submission.


Among the things we're campaigning for are urgent financial certainty for GDPs, additional support for mixed/private-oriented practices and a fit-for-purpose appeals mechanism for financial support scheme payments. We will update you on progress made.





Webinar: COVID-19 and Community Dental Services


We're hosting a new webinar this evening outlining the current COVID-19 related challenges facing the community dental services and the implications on vulnerable groups.


Speakers include: Mili Doshi, a consultant in special care dentistry, Jenny Harris, a consultant in community paediatric dentistry and ​Chair of BDA England Community Dental Services Committee, ​Charlotte Waite.


It takes place this evening from 19.30 - 20.30. Register your place now.



Wednesday 7 October 2020



Northern Ireland: Campaigning for private practice


We have again written to Economy Minister Dodds to make the plight for private dental practice, highlighting the impact on the resilience of mixed dental practice during COVID-19.


We have urged Minister Dodds to consider creating a grant scheme for private practice, for which the Minister of Health has offered administrative support. Your concerns are of primary importance and we will continue to campaign on your behalf. We'll continue to highlight the unrelenting impact on private practice and work with Ministers to secure necessary support.





Pensions: Dentists called to take part in consultation


In this time of financial uncertainty, we’re continuing to campaign on the issues that matter to dentists and dentistry. As part of these efforts, we’re urging dentists to take part in the NHS pension scheme consultation.


The Government is conducting a consultation and proposing two options to remedy age discrimination in the NHS pension scheme. The BMA is sharing its platform with us, so you can contribute during this important phase of this process. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to be heard.





Northern Ireland: Challenges facing dentists

With the recent announcements of increasing COVID cases, increased level of alert and increased restrictions outside of the work environment, dentist Philip McLorinan outlines how his team has had to adapt to dentistry in the COVID-19 pandemic in Northern Ireland.


“Our profession will endeavour to provide the best service it can for patients, however it is essential that the teams are aware of their own wellbeing and ensure good channels of communications are maintained. As we have heard many times, we are all in this together.”





England: Sign up for NHS dentistry updates


NHS England and NHS Improvement are launching a new NHS dentistry and oral health bulletin this month. This will include a roundup of all the latest news and important resources for anyone working in NHS dental services, consider signing up today.





Using the NHS COVID-19 Test and Trace App


Dentists continue to have questions around how to use the NHS COVID-19 Test and Trace App while at work. The guidance advises that you:


  • Download the NHS COVID-19 app to help the fight against coronavirus
  • Use the pause contact-tracing function on the app when you are in dental surgeries (as you are working in highly specialised environment, trained in infection prevention and control processes, and wearing medical grade PPE as required)
  • You can still use some of the app’s functionality while the app contact-tracing feature is paused, if you wish.

Further questions on how healthcare workers can use the NHS COVID-19 app are answered on the NHS Test and Trace website. Please distribute the full guidance to your staff.



Tuesday 6 October 2020



Dental Foundation Training: live Q&A


Due to the COVID-19 and ongoing restrictions, COPDEND has decided to make changes to the Dental Foundation Training (DFT) national recruitment system for this year in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The main change is that the application process will consist of the Situational Judgement Test (SJT) only.


We have created a series of seminar-style videos, as well as a couple of live Q&A webinars designed to help prepare you for the Situational Judgment Test and to answer any burning questions that you have.


Our first live Q&A takes place tomorrow (7 October) from 19:00 to 20:00 where our experts Alasdair Miller and Jonathan Lewney will discuss practice SJTs and provide tips on national ranking and answering techniques.


Places are limited to 150 so register now and join us for an interactive discussion in which we seek to address outstanding issues, answer burning questions and do our best to prepare you to take on the SJTs with confidence.





Northern Ireland: Financial support, fallow time and PPE


With the publication of the SDCEP report on aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) in dentistry and impending deadlines regarding financial support, we are working hard to ensure that policymakers understand the potential implications of reduced fallow times. We’re also seeking to ensure that Health Service, mixed, and wholly private dental practitioners receive the financial support they need.


Richard Graham, Chair of the Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee, has outlined the concerns we’re raising regarding financial support, fallow time and PPE on behalf of dentists in Northern Ireland.





Northern Ireland: Minister responds to delay concerns


We have received a response from Health Minister Robin Swann to our 3 September letter on DDRB uplifts, CDS temporary rate for extended hours, and support for private dentistry.


The Minister acknowledges the delays are "exacerbated by a system that not only requires the approval of the Department of Health, but also that of the Department of Finance." We will continue to engage directly at Ministerial and official level on the pressing issues within dentistry, and we will update you when we have more information.





England: PPE portal provides dentists with free PPE


NHS dentists should sign up for the Government's PPE portal. This is an online platform, which supplies PPE free of charge to health and social care providers, including dentists.


To calculate your portal order limit, you should calculate your number of units of dental activity (UDAs) plus number of units of orthodontic activity (UOAs), if any, multiplied by 1.5 per practice per year. For example, dentists that undertake between 3,000 and 5,999 of the composite metric can order up to (per week):


  • 300 IIR masks
  • 200 aprons
  • 800 gloves (400 pairs)
  • 2 boxes of visors (usually 50 per box)
  • 2 bottles of hand hygiene (usually 500ml)

You should have received an email inviting you to register with the PPE Portal, between Monday 17 August and Friday 21 August. If you have not yet registered, do so today.





COVID guidance update reduces fallow times


As reported on Friday, the Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP) UK and College of General Dentistry (CGD) have updated their guidance and incorporated the reduced fallow time that was recommended last week by the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme.


The guidance, Implications of COVID-19 for the safe management of general dental practice,  
was first published on 1 June, and supports dental professionals to take a risk-based approach to providing safe care, whatever the national COVID-19 threat.


Among the distinguishing features of the document was its consideration of the risk of exposure to potentially-infectious aerosols arising and treating all AGPs as if they carry equal risk. It thus accepted the 60-minute fallow period recommended by Public Health England following higher risk procedures.


The SDCEP review of aerosol-generating procedures in dentistry, published last week, recommends context-specific fallow periods of between 10 and 30 minutes. Consequently, the most significant change to the FGDP-CGDent guidance is the adoption of SDCEP’s fallow time recommendations, which have also been incorporated in an accompanying Fallow Time Calculator, which will be launched soon.


The revised document also provides additional detail and updated guidance on:


  • air ventilation and air cleaners
  • the use of the 3 in 1 syringe
  • the risk of aerosolisation from dental handpieces
  • decontamination of the surgery
  • the relevance of the R number and prevalence rate
  • the protection of vulnerable staff

Dental professionals are invited to learn more by joining a related webinars, which will be free to view live through Prodental:


  • On Monday 19 October, Mythbusters 2 will look at the latest changes and challenges of COVID-19 in light of the recommendations of SDCEP, FGDP and CGDent.



Monday 5 October 2020



Breaking records for member support


As record-breaking numbers of members reach out to us for advice, Claire Bennett, employment lawyer and BDA Advisor, looks back at the start of the crisis and how we’ve been supporting members during the pandemic:


"By the third week of lockdown, our phones were ringing off the hook... My work days got longer. My lunch breaks got shorter. Some days I was honestly forgetting to eat."


"Our advice team [has] replied to 19,555 emails since March, an unprecedented number."


"[And] at over three million visits, our website has been a hub for dentists all over the country during the pandemic."


Read Claire's blog: Coronavirus: How we dealt with record numbers of advice calls.





Webinar: COVID-19 and Community Dental Services


We're hosting a new webinar this week outlining the current COVID-19 related challenges facing the community dental services and the implications on vulnerable groups.


Speakers include: Mili Doshi, a consultant in special care dentistry, Jenny Harris, a consultant in community paediatric dentistry and ​Chair of BDA England Community Dental Services Committee, ​Charlotte Waite.


It takes place on Thursday 8 October 2020 from 19.30 – 20.30. Register your place now.





Fallow time calculator launched


A new free-to-use Fallow Time Calculator has been launched to enable dental professionals to determine, justify and record the fallow period necessary following dental procedures carrying a higher risk of exposure to potentially-infectious aerosols.


It has been endorsed by the Chief Dental Officer for England and is designed to complement the recently updated COVID-19 guidance published by the Faculty of General Dental Practice UK (FGDP) and the College of General Dentistry (CGDent), which incorporates the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) recommendations on fallow time.





Webinar: Mitigation of AGPs


Our former Chair and member of SDCEP’s working group, Mick Armstrong will be participating in a free webinar this evening looking at the latest recommendations from SDCEP and others, regarding the mitigation of aerosol generating procedures in dentistry.


The webinar, hosted by the FGDP, will support dental practitioners to understand the latest guidance in order to practice safely and correctly.


Register for Mitigation of aerosol generating procedures in dentistry webinar - Monday 5 October at 19:00.





England: Over 14.5 million appointments missed


Official data indicates that NHS dental services in England are delivering a quarter of pre-COVID treatment levels. Over 14.5 million fewer NHS dental treatments have been delivered in 2020 compared to the same period last year.


We have warned that dentists face an uphill struggle to restore services, unless government is willing to support costs for new equipment that could radically expand patient access, by decreasing fallow time.


We have stressed that if practices, both NHS and private, are required to make changes to ventilation to adhere to new guidance, then government will need to provide financial support.