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Updates from week commencing 9 May 2022

Read all the updates that took place throughout this week.

Friday 13 May 2022


Updated IPC guidelines

Throughout the pandemic, regular updates to Dental SOPs and the Dental Appendix have assisted in managing access and care. In a recent letter, further changes to the guidance on infection prevention and control have been outlined. 


What has changed?


  • Returning to pre-pandemic physical distancing in primary care, inpatient, and outpatient settings 
  • Removing the requirement for physical distancing in patient waiting areas where no risk has been identified. 
  • Returning to pre-pandemic cleaning protocols outside of COVID-19 areas, with enhanced cleaning only required in areas where patients with suspected or known infection are being managed 

What hasn't changed? 

Guidance on screening and the IPC measures (including PPE) remain. Based on screening, patients should be assigned to either a respiratory or non-respiratory pathway:

  • For patients on the non-respiratory pathway standard infection control precautions (SICPs) apply 
  • For patients on the respiratory pathway transmission-based precautions (TBPs) apply in addition to SICPs 
  • For patients on the respiratory pathway undergoing aerosol generating procedures (AGPs), post AGP downtime applies. 

More information about this, and the screening requirements is available in the FAQ's section of our website. 


Northern Ireland: A sustainable contract for all

We issued a letter to Chief Dental Officer, Caroline Lappin highlighting the contract issues that need urgent attention. On 10 May we attended a contract reform group meeting, engaging in the process to ensure a sustainable future for patients and the profession.

Tristen Kelso discusses the issues, and the future of HS dentistry: “We are deeply uneasy with the way conditions have been imposed on independent practitioners, aimed at binding them into maintaining health service commitments under duress, when they are already under intense pressure. Two years later, conditions are being applied to RSS in relation to unregistered patients, but GDPs are currently unaware of what the GDS financial conditions will look like over the upcoming two-year period.”

The department must address the issues facing dentistry now. Surveys show dentists are struggling with low morale and practitioners are being forced back on to the NHS treadmill. Time is against us due to how unworkable the current arrangements are, but we will do everything we can to secure a contract that works for everyone.


Ready to take on a challenge?

The BDA Benevolent Fund are looking for marathon-runners to help raise funds by taking part in this year's TCS Virtual London Marathon. The event takes place on Sunday 2 October 2022, and there are five virtual places available for people within the dental profession.

You can run the virtual marathon anywhere in the country and have a full 24 hours to complete the 26.2 miles. Don't miss the opportunity to compete in one of the most famous marathons in the world whilst raising valuable funds and awareness of the BDA Benevolent Fund.

The deadline to submit your interest in taking part is Monday 23 May 2022. All entrants will be shortlisted, and five runners will be notified that they have a place by Monday 30 May.

Thursday 12 May 2022


England: Coaching available to dental teams

NHS England has made free 'Looking After You' confidential coaching and support available for primary care dental teams in England. 

All coaching is free and confidential at a date and time that suits you. Please take some time to look after yourself and your colleagues as you continue to look after others. 

An upcoming webinar outlines these new coaching resources and how to support your dental team on Thursday 26 May at 18:30.


England: Your views on NHS contract

A year into the contract reform process, we are seeing a growing exodus from NHS dentistry. Progress on reform has been slow, and we are still waiting for the "quick wins" we were promised to be delivered.

In his latest blog, Shawn Charlwood, GDPC Chair, discusses our position: "Thousands of dentists in England have left the NHS since the start of the pandemic, and both private and NHS providers continue to report severe workforce problems. A shift to a 95% threshold from April and the signal that it will be full targets from July, is not the supportive messaging the profession and our patients need right now. Drastic action is needed to stem the flow."

Shawn will give evidence to Parliament's Health and Social Care Committee as part of their ongoing enquiries. Your feedback is key to the evidence we offer, so please consider completing our survey and make your voice heard on these important issues.


Northern Ireland: Welcome change in frequency of RQIA inspections

The Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee have welcomed a change in the frequency of RQIA inspections from every year to every two years. The change has been a long time coming, but very much worth the effort.

On 1 May 2022 RQIA implemented this change and will now inspect half of the registered dental practices during the 2022/23 inspection year and the remainder during the 2023/24 inspection year. A tool is also being developed to identify practices to be inspected in year one and two.

We will continue to link closely with RQIA on your behalf and are pleased to have played a role in making this important legislative change happen. We look forward to a positive working relationship with the future Health Minister, the new Health Committee, the 90 newly elected MLAs and the officials at the Department of Health.

Wednesday 11 May 2022



Northern Ireland: Tackling oral surgery backlogs


There are currently over 3000 patients on the waiting list for oral surgery, with more referrals coming in per day than dentists have the capacity to treat. Covid has caused major and lasting changes, with the secondary care sector working to maximum capacity.


Martin Curran explores the issues in his blog: "Balancing our caseload has left little capacity for routine oral surgery cases, such as wisdom tooth extractions which usually make up a large proportion of our work. Even orthodontic cases are experiencing a long waiting time. The secondary care sector is now in a position where patients are being informed to consider seeking treatment elsewhere due to the waiting list time."





Advice on USS pension changes


The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) has undergone very significant changes over the last 11 years; with the most recent changes made in April 2022. These changes look set to have a detrimental effect on members' pensions. We have developed exclusive advice for members  about the changes being made, and things they should consider if they are part of the USS scheme.


Please read our advice to learn more about the situation and the new changes that were introduced from 1 April 2022. We will keep you updated on this situation if there are more developments.



Tuesday 10 May 2022



England: Urgent action needed on child tooth extractions backlog


The government must act now to deal with the surging backlog of child tooth extractions. Data has shown a collapse in procedures being carried out but dentist leaders have warned this will not reflect a change in demand.


Charlotte Waite, Chair of our England Community Dental Services Committee said:
"COVID has simply left tens of thousands in pain, potentially waiting years for treatment they desperately need. Government has yet to offer real clarity on the scale of the backlog, or a credible plan to tackle it."


We require full disclosure on waiting times and a properly funded plan to address the backlogs. Tens of thousands of children will be left in pain, facing difficulties learning, eating, and sleeping for over a year. Over 12.5 million NHS dental appointments for children have been lost in England since lockdown.





Send us your nominations for the BDA Honours and Awards 2022


Our Honours and Awards acknowledge the unsung heroes of dentistry and celebrate dentists who uphold and improve standards in the profession.


If you know a dentist who consistently goes the extra mile, is active in furthering the profession and offers exceptional service, nominations are now open for our Honours and Awards. The categories include:


  • Roll of Distinction, honouring outstanding services to UK dentistry
  • Certificate of Merit for Services to the Association, to recognise special service at any level of dentistry within the UK
  • Certificate of Merit for Services to the Dental Profession, to recognise special service at any level of dentistry either nationally or internationally
  • Joy Harrild Award for Young Dentists, to recognise young dentists who have made a significant contribution to the profession.

Download and complete our nomination form before the deadline on 27 May 2022.



Monday 9 May 2022



Scotland: Changes to SDR allowances


The Scottish Government have made changes to various individual and practice dental allowances within the Statement of Dental Remuneration (SDR).


Throughout the pandemic, when practices were in receipt of emergency Covid Support Payments, personal commitments payments, the General Dental Practice Allowance (GDPA) and rent reimbursement payments were all protected, with payments being allocated based on the position at the time of 31 March 2020. The Scottish Government will remove this protection from 1 July 2022 and a series of changes have been made to reflect how allowances will be allocated.





Entity cover and why you need it


Some practice owners are choosing to register their businesses as entities. If you are considering this option or have already done so, then it's important that you should be aware of the risks. Chiefly that most indemnity providers will not cover you, if a lawyer makes a claim against your entity, as the claim is not against the named person on the insurance policy.


If this happens and you don't have entity cover, the claim and associated costs need to be paid out of your pocket. Recent figures suggest as many as 60% of dentists (associates and practice owners) are currently operating entities. This leaves a huge number of dentists vulnerable to these sorts of claims.


Find out more about entity cover, whether you need it, and how to get it in our latest blog from Len D'Cruz.





England: Call for feedback ahead of Health Committee inquiry


With the exodus of dentists from NHS dentistry accelerating, we have been called to give evidence direct to Parliament's Health and Social Care Committee as part of their ongoing inquiry into recruitment, training and retention across health and social care. 


To ensure the Committee, chaired by former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP, has sight of the very latest intelligence, we have now launched a new survey, inviting all General Dental Practitioners in England to take part

"Every vacancy that remains unfilled translates into thousands of patients unable to access care" says Shawn Charlwood, General Dental Practice Committee Chair, who will be addressing the Committee in Westminster on 24 May.


"It is vital that Jeremy Hunt and his committee colleagues hear the facts on what dentists are facing on the frontline."





England: Ministers urged to level up NHS dentistry   


We've backed calls from Healthwatch England for urgent and fundamental reform of NHS dentistry to be delivered by next year.


New polling from the patient champion shows 41% of adults are struggling to access care, with nearly half (49%) saying that patient charge levels are unfair given the mounting cost of living. Data show the shortage of appointments is hitting those on low incomes the hardest, with the most affluent patients six times more likely to be able to pay for private care than their least affluent counterparts.  


Around 3000 dentists have left the NHS since the onset of the pandemic, an exodus fuelled by the discredited NHS contract. Healthwatch has stressed a new system must be in place before formal responsibility for dental services passes to the 42 new Integrated Care Systems in April 2023, following the passage of the Health and Care Act.  


"Shameful inequalities are set to widen, but Ministers don't seem willing to apply their own slogans to NHS dentistry," says General Dental Practice Committee Chair Shawn Charlwood.

"Choices made by Government mean dentists are now walking away from the NHS, while millions go without the care they need."