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Updates from week commencing 6 December 2021

Read all the updates that took place throughout this week.

Friday 10 December


Library: 40 hours of verifiable CPD with our eBooks 

If you're looking for something to read over the festive period, why not take a look at our CPD eBook collection and earn up to 40 hours of verifiable CPD at the same time.

Pick from a wide variety of dental subjects from dental anxiety to infection control and orthodontics to endodontics. There are 20 books to choose from and two hours of CPD to be earned on every book.

All members can access. 


England: Dentistry must have a voice in commissioning


We are continuing to fight for a voice for dentistry in new structures set to be created by the Health and Care Bill as it starts its journey through the House of Lords. 

We are working with four sister organisations representing GPs, community pharmacy, optical, and audiology services to lobby for better representation of primary care in the new structures, as the responsibility for commissioning dental services shifts from NHS England to the newly created Integrated Care Boards.

Following multiple meetings and briefings, Lord Hunt of King's Heath has now tabled two amendments to the Bill put forward by us, which require the Integrated Care Boards to consult Local Representative Committees such as LDCs when writing their annual strategic plan, and guarantee a person nominated by the Local Dental Committee in each Integrated Care Partnership. The amendments will be considered when the Bill returns for further consideration in January. 

We continue to lobby for our members' interests as it continues its journey through Parliament. 


England: Unanswered questions on back of new SOP and Omicron

Last week, the office of the Chief Dental Officer for England held a webinar to discuss the impact of the new SOP.
We asked for your questions to put directly to the CDO. You responded with queries in the hundreds regarding safety and practical issues in the days ahead.
While there are many clear responses, on the whole there is a disappointing level of unanswered questions.
BDA Chair Eddie Crouch said: “The CDO stressed no two practices are the same, but we know all are facing the same crude targets.  
“We want to see members have the freedom to choose to do the right thing for their patients, their teams and themselves.  
"This new SOP does not mark a return to 'business as usual', and dentists will need practical support and clarity to deliver on it.”

In his blog, Eddie sets out what you need to know:


Scotland: Indicative budget increase for dentistry

In the Scottish Budget 2022-23, published yesterday, the GDS budget increased by £38 million. It will go up from £431 million in 2021-22 to £469 million in 2022-23 – a rise of 8.8%. This follows an increase of £2.4 million (0.6%) last year. This increase presumably includes the patient charge for 18-25 year-olds who no longer pay for NHS dental treatments.

Scottish Government officials have previously stated that these figures represent a "nominal" budget, as NHS dentistry is a demand-led service. Actual spend on GDS and PDS was previously included in the annual Primary Care Dentistry in Scotland reports, but these are no longer published. We have requested the latest spending figures from Public Health Scotland.

We will continue to press the Scottish Government to fund NHS dentistry at sufficient levels to maintain the viability of practices.

Thursday 9 December 2021


Dental careers podcast: Specialty training


Are you interested in going into specialty training?


On our podcast, Chairside: Conversations about careers in dentistry, Andrea Ogden chats with two specialty trainees and covers the questions that students and FDs so often ask, such as:


  • When is the best time to do it?
  • How difficult is it to apply?
  • What other challenges can you take on at the same time?

They discuss academic research, starting a family and what you really need to know before taking the leap into specialty training.


Khadeeja Saeed BDS Manchester 2015: "I've always known about special care but I think, like with many dental students, you hear  about the different specialities but until you actually work in the speciality, you don't actually appreciate the kind of work you do."


Payal Sharma-Birch, BDS London 2008: "I get to work with my favourite patient groups, children, and I get to see the transformative effect our work can have on their confidence and their mental health, and  I'm very grateful I can be part of that journey".


Listen on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify or search "Chairside" on your chosen podcast platform.


England: Mandatory vaccinations and the meaning of 'patient-facing'

Under the mandatory vaccination requirements, all patient-facing staff are expected to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Members should note that, patient-facing staff – other than clinical staff – might also include anyone who comes into contact with patients or an area where patients gather. 

Each practice will need to determine who their patient-facing staff are based upon building layout and thoroughfare. For example, a receptionist would almost by default fall into this category, while a decontamination nurse who does not enter spaces where patients may be, might not qualify as patient-facing. However, if that nurse travelled through a space where patients may be, they would be considered patient-facing. 

To be exempt from vaccination, the staff member in question must not have direct, face-to-face contact with a patient. An amount of discretion is advised and it will be up to the practice owner to decide. See our advice for further information on mandatory vaccination:

Letter templates are also available to Expert members for the following:


BDA Board elections: Have you posted your ballot?

The BDA Board elections close Thursday 16 December. If you have not yet returned your ballot by post, please do so as soon as possible, to ensure your vote counts. You can find the full list of candidates on our elections page.


Ballot papers have been delivered to all full members (to the address at which you receive your BDJ). If you have not received a ballot form and are eligible to vote, please email to request a replacement form today. If you have already returned yours, thank you for voting!


Northern Ireland: Changes to PPE reimbursement

Following engagement with BDA NI, the Health & Social Care Board has implemented changes to Code 3001 claims for PPE reimbursement. 

From today, it will no longer be necessary for practitioners to complete the observations section of the EDI/HS45 claim form, when level II PPE has been used in conjunction with an SDR item of service which is not detailed in Appendix A.

For each patient visit, practitioners should record the justification for the use of level II PPE in the patient notes. HSCB will check a sample of record cards when item 3001 has been claimed. This sampling will be both random and risk based.

HSCB is working with Business Services Organisation (BSO) and the Department of Health to simplify and streamline processes relating to the handling of claims for item 3001 already received.


Confidential counselling and emotional support

We provide all members with access to Health Assured, a comprehensive confidential service designed to help you deal with personal and professional problems that could be affecting your home life or work life, health, and general wellbeing. Members can access the helpline 24/7, 365 days a year. Support includes:

  • Life support: Unlimited access to counselling, a pathway to structured telephone counselling for you or your dependents and for you face-to-face counselling sessions at your convenience
  • Legal information: Advice for you on any issues, including debt management, accountancy, lawsuits, consumer disputes, property or neighbour disputes
  • Bereavement support: Experienced counsellors who can help with grief and related stress plus a team of legal advisors to help with legal issues
  • CBT online: We recognise the value of self-help tools in dealing with a range of issues, which is why we have a range of CBT self-help modules, informative factsheets and invaluable advice videos from leading qualified counsellors.

Wednesday 8 December 2021


Northern Ireland: GDPs, we need your feedback 

The new Operational Guidance for Northern Ireland is currently being finalised following the publication of a new Dental Appendix.

In summary, this moves away from a default Level 2 PPE position to patients being placed on one of two pathways – respiratory and non-respiratory, given the likelihood of them carrying a respiratory illness.

Associates and practice owners, we want to hear your views on what impact this is likely to have in practices. Please spare five minutes to complete this survey

We'd also like to gather your views on how the pandemic is continuing to impact the delivery and business of dentistry in Northern Ireland, and to understand the impact this has had on your own well-being.


Northern Ireland: CDO confirms process for revising Operational Guidance

The CDO has written to GDPs to set out the process by which the Northern Ireland Operational Guidance will be revised to take account of updated UK IPC Guidance and Dental Appendix.

Practices have been reminded to continue to follow the existing guidance issued on 2 February 2021 until the work to produce new Operational Guidance is complete, and a further communication issued to GDPs.


England: Thanks for your feedback


We asked for feedback from General Dental Practitioners in England, following the publication of the new Standard Operating Procedure.


We wanted to hear your views on:


  • The likely impact of the new SOP/IPC guidance
  • The arrival of Omicron variant
  • The potential impact of mandatory vaccination on dental workforce.

The survey is now closed. We will update you on the results shortly.


Working for you: Our impact report

Front cover of the Impact report showing a dentist smiling

This year your support has been more than symbolic. In the face of a unique threat, we have moved forward together and have continued to fight for the profession and to face challenges head on. 

  • Our campaigns have supported four parliamentary debates in Westminster
  • We've highlighted your issues in over 1,400 appearances on broadcast media 
  • We've welcomed over 20,000 webinar attendees, provided 313 CPD hours to over 40,000 CPD Hub users 
  • Our live update page has been accessed over 700,000 times 
  • Over 20,000 members' questions have been answered by our advice team. 

Download our Impact report to learn about how we've been supporting members across the UK.

Robert Evans, BDA member said: "I recently joined the BDA for indemnity, and I wish I'd done it sooner! Loads of great CPD courses, access to so many journals and books but best of all support if you need it and they seem to always work with the dentist in mind. Definitely recommend!"

Tuesday 7 December 2021


Free fit testing pilot for dentists and DCPs in Essex

A free pilot programme of face fit testing is now open for all dental team members in Essex who have access to the Medicom range of Small, Medium and Large FFP3 masks available through the NHS e-Procurement channel.

The service will be offered in Barking, Basildon, Chelmsford and Colchester. The programme started on Monday, please book now as places are limited. Alternatively, email: or call 0330 1758 996.


England: Advice for dentists and staff returning to the UK


The UK Health Security Agency, the National Medical Director of NHS England, and Chief Nursing Officer for England have issued guidance for healthcare workers arriving from abroad.


For non-Red List country arrivals:


  • If a dentist (or member of staff) returns from any overseas travel (not on the Red List, but not including Ireland), they should not return to work until they have had a negative PCR test
  • In addition, following this, they should also undertake daily lateral flow tests until Day 10 after their return.

This is a new requirement and the Government rolled out the PCR element to the general population last week.


The healthcare work advice differs slightly in that the general public will have two days to take a PCR test and all must self-isolate, but can leave self-isolation if the PCR test result is negative.


For Red-List country arrivals (Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe):


  • If a dentist (or member of staff) returns to England from a Red-List country, they must quarantine for 10 full days in a managed hotel even if they are fully vaccinated
  • They must also take a COVID-19 test on or before Day 2 and on or after Day 8 of quarantining. These tests will be included in the hotel package which must be arranged before arriving in England, as they can be fined up to £4,000 if not and will still have to pay for the quarantine package on arrival
  • In addition, if they break the quarantine rules, they may face a penalty of up to £10,000.

Quarantine package costs: £2,285 for one adult for one room for 10 days (11 nights), with an additional rate for one adult of £1,430.


There will, obviously, be implications of potential staff absences on the contractual delivery with NHS England and the BDA is urgently raising the issue with NHS England officials.


We will keep you updated.


England: We need your feedback


We are urgently seeking feedback from General Dental Practitioners in England, following the publication of the new Standard Operating Procedure.


We want to hear your views on:


  • The likely impact of the new SOP/IPC guidance
  • The arrival of Omicron variant
  • The potential impact of mandatory vaccination on dental workforce.

So, if you're an associate or practice owner please complete this five-minute survey.


Northern Ireland: COVID-recognition payments on track for Christmas

The Health and Social Care Board have confirmed that all claims for COVID-recognition payments from dental contractors, which were submitted by the deadline and provided the required supporting documentation, have been verified and passed for payment. This means that 335 contractors, 92% of all dental contractors in Northern Ireland, will receive a payment in the December payment run. You will receive a confirmation letter in mid-December to confirm payment.

Monday 6 December 2021


England: New coaching service for the primary care workforce

NHS England have launched a new national coaching service for primary care workers.  

Looking after your career will see experienced coaches offering individually tailored support to help you to take practical steps over your career direction and to proactively advance it.

The aims of the coaching service is to:

  • support career conversations
  • facilitate a connection and awareness of other national workplace offers in place
  • support retention and delivery of the 6k and 26k primary care workforce manifesto commitments.

All coaching is free and confidential and sessions are available Monday to Saturday.

You can register and book a coaching session at NHS England: Looking after your career


Northern Ireland: Dental payment issues must be treated as a matter of urgency

We are extremely concerned that deficiencies in the Code 3001 payments system means practitioners are not receiving reimbursement for PPE that is due to them.

These issues were raised in a recent meeting between members of the NIDPC and the Business Services Organisation who met on 17 November 2021 to discuss problems arising from the Code 3001 process. This meeting highlighted software-related problems, as well as various scenarios in which the payments system does not recognise valid PPE payment.

We have emphasised the importance of an urgent 'fix' to this situation and we have provided the Department of Health with a list of examples where valid PPE claims are being rejected. In response, the department have committed to forwarding our concerns to HSCB to find a resolution.

We will continue to press the department/HSCB and BSO to address this as a matter of urgency.


Resources: Managing stress in dentistry 

If you are experiencing stress at work, know that you are not alone. Almost half of dentists say stress in their job is exceeding their ability to cope. To help you, we're holding a CPD certified webinar on Thursday 27 January 2022 at 19:30, led by psychotherapist Anthony Asquith.

This session will cover:

  • How to tackle worry and stress head on
  • Stress management strategies 
  • How to work more productively and sustainably.

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 there to support you.


England: We need your feedback

Following the publication of the new Standard Operating Procedure we are now urgently seeking feedback from General Dental Practitioners in England.

We want to hear your views on:

  • The likely impact of the new SOP/IPC guidance
  • The arrival of Omicron variant
  • The potential impact of mandatory vaccination on dental workforce.

So, if you're an associate or practice owner please complete this five-minute survey.