Friday 12 November 2021
England: Mandatory COVID vaccines for healthcare workers
All individuals undertaking CQC regulated activities in England
must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by 1 April 2022 to protect patients, as announced by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) this week. This means that unvaccinated individuals will need to have had their
first dose by 3 February 2022, in order to have received their second dose by the 1 April 2022 deadline.
Exemptions apply, including those who are medically exempt; under 18 years of age; do not have contact with patients; or are a participant in a clinical trial investigating COVID-19 vaccination. If you are medically exempt, we encourage you to obtain the necessary medical evidence as early as possible.
We are currently reviewing the regulations and currently putting together a package of advice. We are drafting a series of template letters to help our members manage and communicate this process with staff. We will keep you updated.
Wales: Restart of the GDS reform programme
We are working to provide a voice for dentists within the General Dental Services (GDS) reform process, which was stalled due to the pandemic but is now being restarted. Indeed, we recently attended the first meeting for the Stakeholder Engagement Workstream (SEW) group. Here are some key takeaways:
- All practices with NHS contracts will be part of the contract reform programme, which will be effective from 1 April 2022
- The restart of the GDS reform process from 1 April 2022 has no direct bearing on the GDS contract conditions from 1 April 2022
- The GDS regulations for FY2022-23 will remain as current – there will be no return to UDAs
- We have asked that the GDS contract expectations from 1 April 2022 be communicated at the earliest opportunity.
We will update you as the programme evolves.
Mouth Cancer Action Month: Join our free webinar
November is Mouth Cancer Action Month and this year we're holding a free webinar for the whole dental team to learn more about
Head and neck cancer: the red flag symptoms to watch out for.
Join us on
Wednesday 24 November at 19:30 to discuss:
- How to recognise symptoms of oral cancer
- Recent advances in cancer treatment
- The impact of COVID-19 on referrals and treatment.
By spotting the signs and symptoms early, we can prevent some cases from happening and improve early diagnosis rates.
Confidential counselling and emotional support
Dentistry can be a stressful and challenging profession. That's why, we provide all members with access to counselling and emotional support, Health Assured. This comprehensive confidential service is designed to help you deal with personal and professional problems that could be affecting your home life or work life, health, and general wellbeing. You can access the helpline 24/7, 365 days a year. So, don't struggle in silence. Reach out today.
Advice: Selling your practice
If you are thinking about selling your practice there are many things you should consider. Our updated advice has been put together to
help members prepare your practice for sale
and guide you through the sales process.
It will tell you:
- How to offer your practice for sale and whether to use an agency
- What you can do to improve the attractiveness of your business
- How goodwill can be influenced
- About staffing issues such as TUPE regulations, redundancy, associates and practice transfers and foundation and vocational training practices
- What types of clauses you are likely to find in a sale agreement.
Thursday 11 November 2021
Scotland: Highlighting the challenges facing dentistry
This morning the Scottish Parliament's COVID-19 Recovery Committee invited witnesses representing dentistry, general medical practice and social care to provide evidence on the effect of the pandemic on their respective sectors, and the main challenges they faced going forward.
GDP Donald Morrison from BDA Scotland gave evidence on behalf of the dental profession and used the results from our recent survey of dentists to outline some of the challenges facing dentists and patients in Scotland. He provided details of the colossal backlog of unmet dental care need, highlighted the increasing pressures facing dental teams, and explained that NHS dental services in Scotland were "broken" and required major long-term reform to ensure the viability of NHS dentistry in Scotland.
Watch Donald Morrison speaking on your behalf:
Northern Ireland: Dentists included in cancer strategy plans
In his recent blog, Gerry McKenna Chair of the BDA Hospitals Group for Northern Ireland, shares how we've been advocating for change, highlighting systemic risks, and influencing government policy to make oral health a vital element of the cancer strategy for Northern Ireland.
He briefed Stormont's All Party Group on Cancer on the key issues that need to be addressed in the new strategy, resulting in Robin Swann, Minister for Health, acknowledging the vital role dentists play in providing screening for oral cancer and including dentists in the strategy.
"It is good to see that our messages on oral cancer have been listened to and understood by senior politicians and the Steering Group Members responsible for the new strategy. One of the strategy's 67 recommendations, is to "raise public awareness of the risk factors and early signs of mouth cancer and the importance of regular dental check-ups for those at increased risk." Our messages are getting through."
Scotland: No plans for mandatory COVID vaccines for NHS staff
Following plans for COVID-19 vaccinations to be made mandatory for frontline NHS workers in England, we sought clarity from the Scottish Government if a similar stance would be adopted in Scotland.
Today, the Chief Medical Officer's Office confirmed that currently there are no plans to introduce mandatory vaccinations for NHS and Social Care staff in Scotland as vaccine uptake rates have been very high.
We will keep you informed and updated if their stance on the matter is due to change.
Northern Ireland: PPE funding for FFS2 to FSS3 transition
The Department of Health has confirmed that the code 3001 should be used for claiming PPE funding for courses of treatment during the transition between FSS2 to FSS3 to
8 September 2021 inclusive.
This applies whenever level 2 PPE has been worn regardless of whether that PPE was worn before or after 8 September 2021.
Further clarity on how this should work in practice will be sought next week at a Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee meeting with the Business Services Organisation (BSO). We will keep you updated.
England: Mandatory vaccines for healthcare workers
On 9 November,
the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) formally announced that any individuals undertaking CQC regulated activities in England
must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by 1 April 2022 to protect patients.
NHS England has now confirmed that this means that unvaccinated individuals will need to have had their
first dose by 3 February 2022, in order to have received their second dose by the 1 April 2022 deadline.
Exemptions apply, including those who are medically exempt; under 18 years of age; do not have contact with patients; or are a participant in a clinical trial investigating COVID-19 vaccination.
We'll be sharing further details and advice shortly.
Wednesday 10 November 2021
Advice: Business continuity planning
Does your practice have business continuity plans? Business continuity planning involves preparing a contingency plan for situations that could seriously affect the long-term survival of your business. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us exactly why they're so important. Our advice will help you to:
- Identify events that could prevent your practice from opening or operating normally
- Develop a risk matric to assess the major threats to your practice
- Identify how to manage a crisis after an event to ensure a swift return to normal services
- Assess the effectiveness of your plan via testing and training
- Comply with your NHS requirements (if you hold a contract for services in England).
Members can log in to
access this advice today. If you're not yet a member, you can
join for this and many other benefits.
Mouth Cancer Action Month: New resources for dentists
This Mouth Cancer Action Month we're working to provide dentists with much needed resources to support you in the vital role of early detection and prevention of head and neck cancers.
Osteosarcoma of the jaws and presenting in general dental practice
Deciphering novel chemotherapy and the impact on dentistry
Contemporary management of advanced midfaced malignancy in the age of Instagram
We know that dentists and their teams have a crucial role to play in ensuring oral cancers are detected early and it is our goal to provide you with the resources and support you need.
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".
Spotify or search "Chairside" on your chosen podcast platform.
Northern Ireland: GDC to refer low-level concerns for local resolution
A new process for referring low-level concerns raised by patients with the General Dental Council (GDC) has been outlined by the Chief Dental Officer for Northern Ireland, Caroline Lappin.
This process, effective from
8 November 2021, will allow the GDC to refer any concerns that do not involve patient safety issues and ones that do not meet the threshold for fitness to practice. These low-level complaints will be dealt with in the Dental Practice or HSC Trust Dental Department.
Richard Graham, Chair of the BDA Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee, said: "We welcome [this] more proportionate way of dealing with low-level concerns and reducing unnecessary stress on dentists. We are pleased that the scope of this agreement will apply not only to dentists working in GDS, but also in CDS and HDS in Northern Ireland.
A similar approach is already in place in England, Wales, and Scotland.
Tuesday 9 November 2021
England: Compulsory vaccinations risk undermining access
The Government has announced that from April next year, COVID vaccinations will be compulsory for healthcare staff in England. This will cover those undertaking a CQC regulated activity, including both NHS and private dentistry. Health Secretary Sajid Javid has indicated that there will be exemptions from the requirement for medical reasons, and for those staff who do not have face-to-face contact with patients in their work.
We are strongly supportive of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, but believe that this move risks undermining already fragile access at practices across the country.
Dental teams are working to deal with an unprecedented backlog and in the NHS, meet stretching activity targets. There have long been issues recruiting dentists to work in practices, particularly to NHS roles, and the last year saw the number of dentists working in the NHS fall by 951, reducing the workforce to 2013-14 levels. There are also widespread reports from both NHS and private practices of difficulties recruiting and retaining dental nurses.
Even a small reduction in the available workforce will have a substantial impact on service delivery. Ministers risk further restricting access to patients, who are already facing long waits for treatment, and put at risk the financial viability of many dental practices, who will face financial penalties if they fail to meet NHS targets.
We will update again when there are further details on the Government's intended approach. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have not yet indicated whether they will mandate vaccination in the same way.
NHS Dentistry: Funding lower than it was a decade ago
This morning, BDA Chair Eddie Crouch appeared on
BBC Breakfast to discuss the current state of NHS dentistry and why the Government needs to work with the profession to find solutions.
Eddie said: "The funding for NHS dentistry is one area of the NHS where it's actually lower than it was a decade ago… [The BDA] and Healthwatch wrote to the Chancellor ahead of the spending review, not a single penny is coming to dentistry, and we need it to cure the backlog we've got at the moment."
BBC Breakfast shared stories of people struggling to get NHS dental treatment, including a pregnant woman who was told that she would have to wait four years before she would be seen on the NHS.
With around 35 million appointments lost since the start of the pandemic, and £0.6 billion lost in NHS patient charge revenues since lockdown, we need to know there will be adequate funding to continue to deliver NHS dentistry to the patients who need it.
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: How to claim your COVID recognition payment
The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) have created
guidance notes as well as a
staff fact sheet to help you claim your COVID recognition payment.
If you have further questions, HSCB can be contacted directly at:
The closing date for claims is
17 November 2021 at 17:00. We advise practices to make your claims as soon as possible.
Raise awareness during Mouth Cancer Action Month
We are encouraging dentists and teams to support the Oral Health Foundation’s Mouth Cancer Action campaign during November, by raising awareness of oral cancers with your patients.
New cases of mouth cancer reached a record high of 8,722 last year, which is an increase of 58% compared to ten years ago.
Early detection is the key to improved survival rates for those contracting oral cancers, and we are concerned that mouth cancer referrals have fallen since the beginning of the lockdowns.
We continue to campaign to raise awareness of oral cancers and the HPV vaccination and encourage you to:
Monday 8 November 2021
Dental students: Have your say
The BDA Benevolent Fund is looking to learn more about dental students and needs your help. If you are a student, please take part in their
survey on financial and wellbeing issues and encourage others to do so.
Before the pandemic less than 10% of applications to the BDA Benevolent Fund were from dental students. This increased massively during the pandemic and now 45% of applications have been from students.
This survey will help the BDA Benevolent Fund to further support students. It will take you 10-15 minutes to complete.
Podcast: Entrepreneurship in dentistry
On our podcast, three dentists who each run their own business chat to us about what it's like to take the leap.
They discuss the obstacles, the rewards and answer our most pressing questions such as - when is the right time to do it? What are the right motivations? And, is it worth it?
Our guests have all taken risks to own their businesses including: taking over an independent practice, building a ten-site empire and creating a digital start-up.
Join us for a frank and open conversation about entrepreneurship as a career choice in dentistry.
"We know dentistry inside out. We may not be financially trained or have done MBAs, but we know dentistry. We know patients, we know patient care."
Spotify or search "Chairside" on your chosen podcast platform.
Northern Ireland: Practice allowance payment for November 2021
The Business Services Organisation (BSO) has confirmed that the practice allowance payment will continue to be paid – subject to the conditions of the Financial Support Scheme (FFS) being met.
The calculation of the November 2021 payment will be based on the November 2020 payment, uplifted by 2.58%.
Those practices who met the criteria for the additional 7% in 2020/21 will continue to be paid at this rate in 2021/22, unless there are exceptional circumstances which preclude such a payment.
The deadline for this