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Live updates: Coronavirus and dentistry

The BDA is doing everything in its power on the issues that matter to you. Our priority is the safety of you, your team and your patients and the financial sustainability of your practice. I am regularly adding to this page to keep you updated on what we are doing to help you through the challenges of COVID-19.

Martin Woodrow
Chief Executive



Friday 3 December 2021



England: Updated mandatory vaccine advice


If you are working in England, COVID vaccinations are mandatory for all health staff that have face-to-face contact with patients. NHS England has confirmed 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.


We have updated our advice on the compulsory COVID vaccination. This includes:


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






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 starts on Monday, please book now as places are limited. Alternatively, email: or call 0330 1758 996.





England: Unanswered questions on back of new SOP and Omicron


On Wednesday night 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.


In a new blog, BDA Chair Eddie Crouch sets out what you need to know:






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.





BDA elections: Committee and Council voting closes at noon today


There’s still time to vote in the 2021 BDA Committee and Council elections. Voting is open until 12 noon today. You can find the full list of candidates on our elections page.


Eligible members should have received an email ballot, if you haven't yet received one, please check that your email provider has not inadvertently categorised it as spam.


The BDA Board elections remain open until Thursday 16 December.



Thursday 2 December 2021



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.





Scotland: Tools to support staff wellbeing


The Scottish Government have collated a list of useful tools available to help support staff wellbeing.


After persistent pressure from the BDA to address this vital issue, particularly in light of the pandemic, the government unveiled the Workforce Specialist Service. This tool offers confidential mental health assessment and treatment for all regulated health professionals providing NHS services, including independent contractors.


The Workspace Specialist Service joins a body of services also devoted to help support staff wellbeing.


These include:


  • National Wellbeing Helpline (0800 111 4191): Trained practitioners at NHS 24 offer psychological support and provide a compassionate and empathic listening service, advice, signposting and onward referral to local services if required. This service is 24/7.
  • Leadership Support: Coaching, peer support and cross-sector learning sets
  • Coaching for Wellbeing: A digital coaching service for all health and social care staff
  • National Wellbeing Hub: A self-care and wellbeing resources for all staff, unpaid carers, volunteers and their families to enhance personal resilience and signpost to relevant mental health and support services.

There is also funding additional funding available to support psychological care, including £4 million set aside to provide resources for wellbeing. More information can be found at: Caring for those who care for us.





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.





Northern Ireland: Urgent clarity sought on DDRB pay uplift


We have requested an urgent update from the Minister for Health on when dentists will receive confirmation of their pay uplift for 21/22. This follows news earlier this week of a 3% uplift for Agenda for Change staff in Northern Ireland.


In a letter also sent to the Finance Minister, once again we have raised the unacceptable delays that continue to blight the pay review process as a result of a dysfunctional, and out of sequence approach adopted by the NI Executive.


We have also sought assurances that COVID recognition payments remain on track to be paid to independent contractors and their dental team members prior to Christmas, as has been stated previously.





England: CQC fees unchanged for 2022/23


The CQC will not be consulting on fees this year, as they will not change from April 2022. This means that, for the vast majority of dental providers, fees will have remained the same for the last three years.

However, as in previous years, some providers may see a change to their fees (up or down), if they have added/removed a new surgery within their practice or added/removed another premises.


See the CQC website for further information on Fees.



Wednesday 1 December 2021



England: Updated mandatory vaccine advice


If you are working in England, COVID vaccinations are mandatory for all health staff that have face-to-face contact with patients. NHS England has confirmed 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.


We have updated our advice on the compulsory COVID vaccination. This includes:


Letter templates are also available for the following:






Dental careers podcast: Kids, community and prisons


Have you thought about treating children? Or perhaps you're pondering the prison service or CDS? On our podcast, Chairside: Conversations about careers in dentistry, Andrea Ogden speaks to two dentists about their careers in these areas, giving you an insight into their experience and motivations.


Jinesh Thakrar, ex-prison dentist and current CDS dentist: "Prison dentistry really helped me keep up my speed, helped with my diagnosing, as you can imagine there's a high dental need there… I really got involved in doing a lot of endos, extirpations, extractions, lots of restoration work too, which I really enjoyed."


David Drysdale, paediatric specialty registrar at GOSH and former CDS dentist: "The problem I had with the community was that you don't receive much formal training. That's why, I decided to do the masters in paediatric dentistry, it wasn't to help me specialise, it was to do my job… it was on the back of doing the masters, and doing quite well that I decided to specialise…and I would go back [to work as a specialist in the community] in a heartbeat."


Listen on Apple podcastsGoogle podcastsSpotify or search "Chairside" on your chosen podcast platform.





Scotland: Clinical waste collection decision suspended in Borders


Members working in NHS Borders received notification that clinical and sharps waste uplift services from dental practices would be withdrawn from 1 January 2022. We raised concerns with National Services Scotland and they have informed us that the Board have decided to review the decision. Further discussions on this issue are taking place within the Board at present. We will keep you updated on this situation as it unfolds.





Working for you: our year in summary


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.


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



Tuesday 30 November 2021



England: Updated mandatory vaccine advice


If you are working in England, COVID vaccinations are mandatory for all health staff that have face-to-face contact with patients. NHS England has confirmed 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.


We have updated our advice on the compulsory COVID vaccination. This includes:


 Letter templates are also available for the following:






Northern Ireland: Deadline for PPE claims extended


The Business Services Organisation is extending the claims deadline for any missed Item Code 3001 payments for the November 2021 payment cycle until Monday 6 December. Claims should be made by filling out this spreadsheet and uploading it to their eForm


This is solely for the recoup of Item Code 3001 claims submitted between 9 October and 8 November 2021 (inclusive) and not paid in the November 21 payments cycle. If you work in more than one practice, a separate spreadsheet and eForm must be completed for each practice that you work in.





Scotland: New guidelines will not soften blow of Government plans 


We have stressed that new standard operating procedures will do nothing to avert the potentially catastrophic impact of Scottish Government plans to pull away pandemic support from NHS practices.


Patients in Scotland will now be placed on one of two pathways, given the likelihood of them carrying a respiratory illness:


  • Those on the non-respiratory pathway can be managed in line with pre-COVID standard infection control precautions for non-aerosol generating procedures. However, for an aerosol generating procedure, enhanced precautions will still be required
  • Any patient placed on the respiratory pathway and requiring urgent care will remain subject to enhanced precautions for all procedures, which will include maintaining 'fallow time' gaps of up to an hour between treatments.

The new model was unveiled on the day the Omicron variant was confirmed to be present in Scotland.


David McColl, Chair of the British Dental Association's Scottish Dental Practice Committee said: "Sadly, these new guidelines will not magically restore services. They land as we head into winter when respiratory diseases are set to skyrocket. And with Omicron now present in Scotland many practices will understandably take a safety-first approach."





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 this morning.


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, 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.





Scotland: VT activity to be added to practice reports


Vocational Trainee (VT) activity will be added to practices' activity reports from December. This decision will ensure that VT training practices are not negatively disadvantaged when comparing levels of practice activity. 


We have been calling on the Scottish Government to review this issue after our work with Vocational Trainers revealed various scenarios in which excluding VT activity from practice reports negatively affected training practices. We welcome this decision and will continue to take forward members' issues and concerns to the Scottish Government on your behalf.



Monday 29 November 2021



Annual poster competition: Winners announced


The winners of our annual poster competition for Dental Core Trainees in the Hospital Dental Services have been announced.


We're proud to recognise the excellent and inspiring work of:


  • Emma Elliott, Leeds University Trust, and Alya Omar, St Georges Hospital, for their poster on "How Effective is Workshop Teaching at Improving Dental Students' Confidence with Patient Mental Health?"
  • H Moore and N Kelly, DCTs at Ulster Hospital and colleagues for their poster on "Assessment of Facial Swellings"

Two posters were also highly commended:


  • Shree Patel and Jaspreet Virdee, The Eastman Dental Hospital, for their poster on "A WHO Surgical Safety Checklist Audit To Assess Compliance"
  • G Buchanan and K Gillan, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust, for their poster on "Remote and Face to Face Biopsy Reviews in OMFS".

Pete Brotherton, Chair of the Hospitals Group, said: "The winning poster this year was extremely topical with mental health being such an important issue […] Overall, we were delighted to see the range and quality of the submissions this year from all the specialties and across the UK. Congratulations to all the DCTs for their hard work during the pandemic."





BDA elections: Vote now


The 2021 BDA Board, Committee and Council elections are now open. You can find the full list of candidates on our elections page.


Elections for the BDA Board must be done by paper ballot. Ballots are being delivered to all full members and will be sent to the address at which you receive your BDJ. If you have not received a ballot form by 8 December and are eligible to vote, please email to request a replacement form. Ballots must be returned by Thursday 16 December.


Committee and council elections use online ballots, we will email eligible members and provide them with a vote. If you haven't yet received an email ballot, please check that your email provider has not inadvertently categorised it as spam. Ballots close on Friday 3 December.


Please ensure you return your ballot in good time, to ensure your vote counts.





Raise awareness during Mouth Cancer Action Month


We are encouraging dentists and teams to support the Oral Health Foundation’s Mouth Cancer Action campaign as November draws to a close, 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:


  • Use our free oral cancer toolkit, developed in partnership with Cancer Research UK, to help identify and refer cases (includes 3 hours of verifiable CPD)
  • Support the Oral Health Foundation’s campaign during November, use their resources and help raise awareness via social media.





England: Booster jabs in time for Christmas


As we get closer to Christmas, the Government are urging people to get booked in for your booster jab to protect yourself and others over the festive season. In England, eligible staff can book online through the National Booking Service.


A study on the effectiveness of booster vaccines by the UK Health Security Agency shows top-up jabs boost protection back up to over 90% against COVID. This means, if you have your booster jab by 11 December, you'll have high protection against COVID in time for Christmas Day.





England: Seeking clarity on Omicron variant


We have sought urgent clarity from officials on the implications for dentists working to new Standard Operating Procedures, following the Prime Minister’s press conference on the new Omicron variant.


Given the flexibilities within the SOP we are clear there is nothing to prevent practices from making their own decisions about the approach they adopt, in line with the hierarchy of controls.


We have also raised with NHS England officials that the emergence of the Omicron variant is likely to have an impact on NHS delivery and should be a factor in decision-making about contractual thresholds from January 2022.


We are now collating questions from members that the Chief Dental Officer for England, Sara Hurley, will be responding to at a webinar on Wednesday. Please send your questions to


We will be seeking the same clarity as Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland move to publish their own updated SOPs.




November 2021


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October 2021

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September 2021

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December 2020

Read our live updates to find out more:


Full updates from week commencing 30 November 2020

Full updates from week commencing 7 December 2020

Full updates from week commencing 14 December 2020

Full updates from week commencing 21 December 2020


November 2020

Read our live updates to find out more:


Full updates from week commencing 2 November 2020

Full updates from week commencing 9 November 2020

Full updates from week commencing 16 November 2020

Full updates from week commencing 23 November 2020


October 2020

Read our live updates to find out more:


Full updates from week commencing 5 October 2020

Full updates from week commencing 12 October 2020

Full updates from week commencing 19 October 2020
Full updates from week commencing 26 October 2020


September 2020

Read our live updates to find out more:


Full updates from week commencing 1 September 2020

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Full updates from week commencing 28 September 2020


August 2020

Read our live updates from August to find out more:


Full updates from week commencing 03 August 2020

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Full updates from week commencing 24 August 2020


July 2020

Read our live updates from July to find out more:


Full updates from week commencing 6 July 2020

Full updates from week commencing 13 July 2020

Full updates from week commencing 20 July 2020

Full updates from week commencing 27 July 2020


June 2020

In June dental practices in England reopened, however PPE shortages, cash flow and childcare made the return difficult for many. Non-AGP care resumed in Scotland, as private practices began to re-open. Wales and Northern Ireland also saw an expansion of care, as restrictions were slowly lifted across the country.


We launched a toolkit for returning to face-to-face care to help our members re-open safely and efficiently. Over 6,000 members downloaded it in the first day for advice on issues such as social distancing in practice, PPE, fit-testing and employment issues.


We presented evidence of the catastrophic impact of the pandemic on dentistry to the House of Commons' Health select Committee, and pushed for clarify on financial support in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh. We also secured widespread media coverage for dentists' concerns.


Read our live updates from June to find out more:


Full updates for week commencing 1 June

Full updates for week commencing 8 June

Full updates for week commencing 15 June

Full updates for week commencing 22 June

Full updates for week commencing 29 June


May 2020

In May, as lockdown continued and death rates fell, we helped members prepare for the re-opening of dental practices.


In England it was announced that practices could re-open from 8 June, in contrast to the phased re-opening announced In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We developed a risk assessment tool and advised members on how to return-to-work safely and efficiently.


We also took action on business interruption cover by engaging the law firm Brown Rudnick LLP for legal advice on insurers not paying insurance claims made by dentists during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Our campaigns for PPE and financial support made progress, but government continued to drag its feet in supporting self-employed and private dentists, so we continued to push on your behalf at a national and regional level.


Full updates for week commencing 4 May

Full updates for week commencing 11 May

Full updates for week commencing 18 May

Full updates for week commencing 25 May


April 2020

Coronavirus cases continued to rise in April, with the death-toll surpassing 10,000 by Easter weekend. Urgent dental centres (UDCs) were set up across the country. Shortages of PPE for frontline health care workers resulted in delays, particularly in England.


We fought to support members and petition the government on issues ranging from PPE availability, to the financial sustainability of dentistry. We pushed MPs and secured widespread media coverage on these issues. Our campaign for private practices garnered cross-party support with 101 MPs signing our letter calling on the government to consider the plight of dentists. Dentists across the UK volunteered to help the response and were redeployed across NHS services.  


We developed tools for members, such as our furlough calculator, webinars on financial issues and an extensive FAQ page in response to member questions.


Full updates for week commencing 6 April

Full updates for week commencing 13 April

Full updates for week commencing 20 April

Full updates for week commencing 27 April


March 2020

In March 2020 we saw a radical departure from normal life in the UK. The COVID-19 outbreak led to schools, restaurants and bars being closed and unprecedented restrictions were placed on dental treatment.  


From the start, we demanded the Government confirm a financial support strategy for the dental sector. Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged furloughing, loans and cash grants. But we sought clarity on support for NHS and mixed practices and we consistently pushed for Government to extend support to self-employed dentists and private practices. 


Wales became the first UK country to move to red alert status, which saw restrictions to all routine care and plans to open urgent dental centres (UDCs) announced. Scotland and Northern Ireland soon followed, however, there were delays in England, which we took directly to the Minister.  


With many practices all but closing, this was a stressful and confusing time for many dentists. Our advice team answered record numbers of member queries and we launched our Coronavirus advice pages to update you on the latest developments.




Full updates for week commencing 9 March

Full updates for week commencing 16 March

Full updates for week commencing 23 March

Full updates for week commencing 30 March